Entries by Pastor Monte

Take Flight

Pentecost Sunday Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Violent wind, tongues of fire, and rivers of living water—these things inspire both fascination and dread. Yet each is a reflection of God’s presence and power in scripture. With the sound of a rushing wind, the wild and mysterious Spirit of God seeks a home in us. Or, put another […]

One Life of All

Easter 7A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men [mortals]; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men [all people].” With these […]

Now, We are Family

Sixth Sunday of Easter Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you” (John 14:18). Jesus’ declaration of love and commitment was hardly reassuring to the disciples on the eve of his arrest and crucifixion. He was throwing them a lifeline before they knew they were drowning. In less than […]

Jesus the Gate

Fourth Sunday of Easter Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Jesus said, “I AM the gate for the sheep.” (John 10:7). “I AM the good shepherd” (John 10:11). These are not throwaway lines in the gospel of John. They are like an open door. We are meant to step to the threshold and walk into newness of life […]

The Next Right Thing

Easter 3A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago I have to say the Road to Emmaus is one of my favorite bible stories. It happens on Easter Sunday. Alleluia! Christ is risen. (Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!) The women discovered the stone rolled away and the empty tomb. They ran to tell everything. Angels dressed in dazzling clothes […]

Let All Things Rejoice

Easter Sunday A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago That first Easter, the women went before dawn prompted by grief, and returned from the tomb quickly, propelled by fear and great joy with good news for the disciples. Alleluia! Christ is risen! (Christ is risen, indeed.) Let all things living rejoice. In our gospel all things living includes […]

This Old Rugged Cross

Palm Sunday A-20 Immanuel, Chicago I’ve had this old cross more than twenty years now. It has cracks, saw marks, dents, and worm holes. It is so time-worn and irregular it appears it was fashioned by nature rather than by human hands. Every angle tells a story. It’s just two pieces of wood—three if you […]

Lord, It Stinketh

Lent 5A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” (John 11:39, KJV) The King James translation may not be as reliable as other versions, but it is often […]

Blind Sight

Lent 4A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Three weeks ago, was Ash Wednesday. Back then, we still gathered for worship and went about business as usual. If you would have asked me, I would have thought social distancing was a dating strategy not public health policy. None of us expected to give up so much for Lent. […]

Soap and Water

Lent 3A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago When Jesus tells the Samaritan woman who he is, she leaves her water jar at the well, runs back to her city, and said, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!  He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” (John 4:29) She left her water jar. […]