Entries by Pastor Monte

Fearless Enough to Give Thanks

Proper 23C-2019 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago It’s bedtime on a school night years ago. Leah washes her face and brushes her teeth. I fetch a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and open to where we left off the night before. Leah comes and shows me her new sparkly boots and other stuff […]

Just Do It

Proper 22C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Lord, increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). Jesus and the disciples make their way from Galilee to Jerusalem. They walk. Jesus talks. The disciples are taking notes. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and wealth” (Luke 16:13b). ‘Offer forgiveness to everyone who asks –not seven times, but seventy times seven!’ (vs. […]

Lamb Power

Michael and All Angels Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Cosmic battles. Heaven and earth caught in a war between good and evil. Satan is thrown down from heaven onto earth where the combat continues until someday soon, when the archangel Michael and the hosts of heaven finally push the devil and his minions into oblivion and the […]

Prophets and Parables

Proper 20C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor… The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely, I will never forget any of [your] deeds” (Amos 8:4, 7).  Today’s gospel makes me thankful for the Hebrew prophets. You can rely on Amos to […]

The Good Life

Proper 17C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).  The writer of Hebrews hands down hard-won advice—a prized recipe for a well lived life. It is wisdom wrung from the sweat and striving of our forebears in faith. […]

Crooked Made Straight

Proper 16C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “She stood up” (Luke 13:13). We don’t know her name. We don’t know where she came from. We don’t know why she was in the synagogue.  But we can picture her.  A weary woman, resilient and resigned.  A woman “bent over,” and “quite unable to stand up” (vs. 11).  A […]

Kinship to Kin-dom

Mary, Mother of our Lord Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth (Luke 1.39-40). A newly pregnant teenager makes for the hills. She doesn’t slow down until she reaches the home of her also-pregnant […]

Hunting for Treasure

Proper 14C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Perhaps, it is part of the unfortunate legacy of the piety many of us grew up with we are apt to hear many reasons to judge ourselves reading today’s gospel. We list them out: “Do not be […]

A Love Story

Proper 12C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Last Saturday, Kari and I attended a summer wedding. Our own Kevin Crowder married Katie Davis. I gave a nuptial blessing as part of a lovely ecumenical service that blended their Catholic and Lutheran traditions with beautiful music, thoughtful prayers, two great homilies and selections from scripture.  Marriage today celebrates […]

Who is My Neighbor?

Proper 10C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:28) The lawyer’s face-saving question, put another way is, who is not my neighbor? Who can I exclude? When I think of a neighbor, Mrs. Dugan comes to mind. It was 1970. I was eight years old.  We lived in a house on Rodney […]