Entries by Pastor Monte

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 […]

Simple and Amazing

Proper 9C-16 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago July 7, 2019 “See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3).  I remember reading the Gospel of Luke for a required college course in religion when these words of Jesus jumped out at me the first time.  I felt both delighted and terrified. […]

Follow Me

Proper 8C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago June 30, 2019 “He set his face to go up to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51-62). And so, Jesus begins his faithful sojourn to the cross.  From now until November 10th our gospel each Sunday follows Jesus on this journey as recorded in ten chapters of Luke (9:51- 19:28).   Every trek […]

What is Your Name?

Proper 7C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Years ago, I spent a week with 18 high school youth on mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. We helped build a community center and lead vacation bible school for a small church. Every day one youth sent a reflection back home by email.  Often, they wrote about the poverty they observed.  One wrote, […]

Food for the Journey

Pentecost Sunday C-19  “Wind, wind, you come from nothingness and go to nothingness, and when you are still, there is nothing we see, nothing we hear, and you surround us in our not seeing and not knowing.” (Excerpts from the poem Wind, wind – a reflection on the Spirit, by William Loader, an Australian Bible […]

One God One People

Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Jesus only had time for a few last words before his arrest and crucifixion.  He told them to love one another as I have loved you. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) It’s interesting to notice what Jesus didn’t say.  He […]

Successful Failures

The credits roll.  The music plays.  Lights come up in the theater. Yet people linger in their seats.  They stay for the outtakes—scenes not included in the movie. Sometimes stories include an epilogue that reveals what ultimately happens to the principle characters.  We learn Oskar Schindler died bankrupt and penniless in Germany.  Bilbo and Frodo Baggins leave their beloved Hobbitsville and […]

Hoist a Sail to the Spirit

Poor tulips and daffodils are weighed down this morning with snow.  We are five weeks into Spring.  They look vibrant with color and full of the resilience of youth, but I must say, the poor things also look confused. It is sometimes said that nature is God’s first bible.  The divine breath Jesus breathed upon the first Christian […]

Easter Darkness

Alleluia! Christ is risen (Christ is risen indeed, alleluia!) Yet that first Easter morning, despite the fresh bloom of early spring, everything looked dead. Mary Magdalene and the women made their way to the tomb at early dawn.  As they did, the ribbons of color spreading through the eastern sky were not beautiful. The budding garden was not […]