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What Would You Do with Two Life-times?

Easter 5B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Remember this hat? I can hear some of you groan even through cyberspace. Years ago, I wore this hat at the Easter Vigil and for all the Sundays of Easter. People say it makes me look like the apple in fruit-of the loom commercials. This fez-style hat is hand-made. It […]

By Our Wounds, We are Healed

Easter 3B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago He showed them his hands and his feet (Luke 24:40). He showed them his wounds. When Luke and John tell us, Jesus invited the disciples to touch and to see him, it wasn’t merely to identify him as the same person. It was a way to ratify the gospel message. […]

Of Watermelon and Grace

Easter 2B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Lutheran pastor and historian, Martin Marty, recalls a story of a summer day in his boyhood town of West Point, Nebraska, when one of those grand miracles of childhood occurred. A watermelon truck flipped over right in front of his house.  The driver was not injured. He jumped out to […]

A Post-Pandemic Challenge

Easter B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago I have Easter morning memories of wicker-woven baskets lined with fluorescent green plastic grass and princess pony purple paper, colorful foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and bunnies, oh-my-God yellow marshmallow chicks and jellybeans. It was fun making hand-dyed, hard boiled eggs, as is hiding the plastic ones for egg hunts. There were […]

Christmas and the Cross

Passion Sunday, Cycle B Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Where do we stand? Where do you line up? Can you see yourself parading with the peace marchers who threw their garments on the ground and waved palm branches in the air striding into Jerusalem through the East gate? They shouted Hosanna! It means, ‘Lord save us!” (Mark […]


Fourth Sunday in Lent – cycle B Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago One of the matriarchs of Immanuel, Ellen Breting, told me several years ago, she used to carry snakes around in a basket as a child. I’ve always shied away from snakes. I take comfort in the fact snakes want to avoid me almost as much […]

Grief and Hope

Lent 3B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago The Monday before last the U.S. surpassed 500,000 deaths due to Covid-19. One out of 670 Americans has died of the virus. One in three Americans has lost someone they knew. We lost sisters, children, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, in-laws, neighbors, colleagues, teammates, and friends. The […]

Name Calling

Lent 2B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago He was pumping gas when inspiration hit. He wanted to do something nice for his old car so, instead of regular unleaded, he filled the tank with super high-octane gasoline. The old car couldn’t handle it. It stalled at intersections and backfired going downhill. Back at the gas station, he […]

Of Water and Rainbows

Lent 1B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Tens of thousands were left in the dark and cold across Texas this week. Pipes burst and drinking water became scarce in places after winter cold swept across much of the state. One Texas mayor told residents of his small town in a since-deleted Facebook post, “Only the strong will […]

Silent Treasure

Ash Wednesday Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago People muted their cell phones and pocketed their earbuds in the fall 2005 to sit in a packed theater in monkish silence for the premier of Philip Gröning’s three-hour documentary, Into Great Silence. The movie has almost no dialogue. Into Great Silence follows the life of monks in the Grande Chartreuse monastery hidden […]