Entries by Pastor Monte

Morning Again in America?

Proper 12B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Jesus bid the people to recline in the tall grass on the shallow hills beside the Sea of Galilee. He gave thanks and divided the poverty rations of a small boy to produce a feast sufficient to feed 5,000 men (and their families). It was a feast that defied all […]

An End to Our Languishing?

Proper 11B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing. The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021.”  Psychologist Adam Grant seemed to put his finger on what many people are feeling.  It’s not […]

What Should I Ask For?

Proper 10B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago If you stand with your back to the famous Trevi fountain and toss a coin over your left shoulder you are guaranteed a return trip to Rome. Or so, it is said. Thousands make their wish, and cast their coins every day. It takes an hour each day just to […]

E Pluribus Unum

Proper 9B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago He went to his hometown, and they took offense at him (Mark 6:3b). Now, Nazareth was a small, isolated village with no more than 120 to 150 inhabitants. Most were probably relatives. These were the people who raised him, taught him to love and fear God, and kept him safe […]

Do You Need a Bag for That?

Proper 8B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Our gospel is a story within a story. It is a tale of an unnamed women and a prestigious man named Jairus. Or perhaps, it is a tale of Jesus and the disciples. Or perhaps, it is a tale of the bleeding woman and the dead girl. Or in another […]

Ship of Fools

Proper 7B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side” (Mark 4:35). Four times in Mark’s gospel Jesus ordered the disciples into a boat. This time, they set out at night under a threatening sky. They sail into deep water and soon they’re in over their heads. “A […]

A Return to Eden

Proper 6B Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago At the start of today’s service we prayed, “O God, you are the tree of life, offering shelter to all the world. Graft us into yourself and nurture our growth, that we may bear your truth and love to those in need.” Where can we find this tree of life? […]

Are We Alone in the Universe?

Trinity Sunday B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. Let us pray, “God of Multiplicity, you move fluidly among us without concern for boxes, binaries, or the bounds of doctrine. Wild and free, you reveal yourself in an abundance of forms. May your Spirit […]

The Great Discovery

Pentecost Sunday B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago ‘There was a sound like the rush of violent wind that filled the whole house.’ “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them” (Acts 2:2-3). Sounds crazy. Yet I wonder, did those extraordinary events happen only once, and on that particular […]

Back to Nature

Easter 6B-21 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Ecologist Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia grew up in a logging family in Canada. She was a 20-year-old forester when she noticed a particular young spruce tree, planted in a clear-cut forest, was dying, but others nearby were not. That was 40 years ago. Her life’s work […]