Entries by Pastor Monte

An End to Violence

Lent 1B-24 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Daveon Gibson was excited to start driver’s ed this week.  Instead, he was shot and killed while walking from school, along Thorndale Avenue between Lakewood and Magnolia avenues. Two other Senn students – another 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy – were hurt in the shooting. Balloons were released into […]

Becoming Human

Transfiguration B-24 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Today’s readings are full of wonders.  Fiery chariots.  Dazzling clothes.  Magic mantles.  Blinding clouds.  Elijah ascends to heaven in a spectacular whirlwind.  Jesus reveals his divinity on a light-soaked mountain.  There is nothing subtle about these stories.  Today, at the culmination of the Epiphany season, we stand with undimmed eyes […]

Holding Hands

Epiphany 5B-24 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). More than 2,500 years ago, the prophet Isaiah described almighty God enthroned in the heavens looking down […]

What’s It to Us?

Epiphany 4B-24 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago We’re only twenty verses into the first chapter of Mark. Jesus is already collecting disciples and casting out demons. He collects neither in places you’d expect. He finds disciples from the hard-scrabble, unrefined, unlearned shores of the Sea of Galilee. He cast out demons from inside the synagogue. In the […]

Are You Ready?

Epiphany 3B-24 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago When I moved to Chicago for graduate school, I was desperate to find a job. Short on money, I responded to an add selling vacuum cleaners, door to door. The sales pitch aimed at showing people how dirty their home was. I finally sold one to a family that clearly […]

No Escape

Second Epiphany B-24 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago It’s called an escape room. You and your friends pay to get locked in a room. You have one hour to figure out how to get out –in other words– to escape. The clues are obscure and almost nonsensical. The kids and I picked a hard one. The brochure […]

Given for You

Christmas Eve–23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago At 9:00 pm on Wednesday December 13th, my extended family welcomed Laura Jane Cooksey.  Weighing in at 8 lb. 5 oz., little Laura is the first child born of the nieces and nephews’ generation. She is angelic, of course, in her first photo, swaddled in a maternity hospital blanket. Mom […]

Do Not Be Afraid

Advent 4B–23 Immanuel Lutheran Church The angel Gabriel said to Mary, the child she would bear “…will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, (Luke 1:32). She was a young peasant woman no more than 13 or 14 years old.  She had her whole life in front of her. She […]

Hope for the Hopeless

Advent 3B-23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago The sun rose at 7:13 this morning and will set at 4:20. It will feel like midnight by about 7:15. The winter solstice comes at 9:27 pm this Thursday and I’m looking forward to the upward swing of lengthening days. In our world of wars in Sudan, Ukraine, and Israel, […]

Get Comfortable

Advent 2B-23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Comfort, O comfort my people, says our God” (Isaiah 40:1).  I wonder, where do you find comfort? If you’re like me, perhaps there are certain comfort foods like mashed potatoes and gravy that always satisfy and stir warm memories. Or maybe, music you play again and again lifts your spirits […]