Entries by Pastor Monte

The Good Life

Proper 17C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).  The writer of Hebrews hands down hard-won advice—a prized recipe for a well lived life. It is wisdom wrung from the sweat and striving of our forebears in faith. […]

Crooked Made Straight

Proper 16C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “She stood up” (Luke 13:13). We don’t know her name. We don’t know where she came from. We don’t know why she was in the synagogue.  But we can picture her.  A weary woman, resilient and resigned.  A woman “bent over,” and “quite unable to stand up” (vs. 11).  A […]

Kinship to Kin-dom

Mary, Mother of our Lord Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth (Luke 1.39-40). A newly pregnant teenager makes for the hills. She doesn’t slow down until she reaches the home of her also-pregnant […]

Hunting for Treasure

Proper 14C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Perhaps, it is part of the unfortunate legacy of the piety many of us grew up with we are apt to hear many reasons to judge ourselves reading today’s gospel. We list them out: “Do not be […]

A Love Story

Proper 12C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Last Saturday, Kari and I attended a summer wedding. Our own Kevin Crowder married Katie Davis. I gave a nuptial blessing as part of a lovely ecumenical service that blended their Catholic and Lutheran traditions with beautiful music, thoughtful prayers, two great homilies and selections from scripture.  Marriage today celebrates […]

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 […]