Entries by Pastor Monte

Given for You

Christmas Eve–23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago At 9:00 pm on Wednesday December 13th, my extended family welcomed Laura Jane Cooksey.  Weighing in at 8 lb. 5 oz., little Laura is the first child born of the nieces and nephews’ generation. She is angelic, of course, in her first photo, swaddled in a maternity hospital blanket. Mom […]

Do Not Be Afraid

Advent 4B–23 Immanuel Lutheran Church The angel Gabriel said to Mary, the child she would bear “…will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, (Luke 1:32). She was a young peasant woman no more than 13 or 14 years old.  She had her whole life in front of her. She […]

Hope for the Hopeless

Advent 3B-23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago The sun rose at 7:13 this morning and will set at 4:20. It will feel like midnight by about 7:15. The winter solstice comes at 9:27 pm this Thursday and I’m looking forward to the upward swing of lengthening days. In our world of wars in Sudan, Ukraine, and Israel, […]

Get Comfortable

Advent 2B-23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Comfort, O comfort my people, says our God” (Isaiah 40:1).  I wonder, where do you find comfort? If you’re like me, perhaps there are certain comfort foods like mashed potatoes and gravy that always satisfy and stir warm memories. Or maybe, music you play again and again lifts your spirits […]

Wait in Messed-Upedness

Advent 1B-23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago A new year in our worship calendar starts today on this first Sunday of Advent. It begins, not with the pop of a champagne cork, but with lament at the hiddenness of God. ‘O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, Isaiah pleads (Isaiah 64:1). The psalmist […]

Supremely Natural Sovereign

Christ the King Sunday Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago I want to begin today, as I sometimes do for Christ the King Sunday, with a children’s story by Minnesota naturalist and author, Douglas Wood.  Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called Old Turtle. The story begins in a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” […]

Yes and No

Proper 28A-23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “I went and hid your talent in the ground.” Oops.  Wrong answer-right?  Anyone who attended Sunday school knows you don’t hide your talent under a bushel basket or bury it in the ground! You’ve gotta let your little light shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. At […]

Family Photos

All Saints Sunday A-23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Today, we see family photos, keepsakes, and candles arrayed before us. Each one is a reminder of someone we have known and loved who has died. Perhaps they inspired us or encouraged us or nurtured us in faith. These ancestors gave shape to our values and to our […]

A Humble, Self-Critical Church

Proper 25A-23- Reformation Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Kari and I visited Wittenberg, Germany, this summer. It was the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation. On All Saint’s eve, October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther is said to have nailed 95 theses to the doors of Castle Church. He called for a debate on stewardship. More to the point, […]

Mirror, Mirror

Proper 24A-23 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago ‘Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God’ (Matthew 22:21). This small but mighty verse gave birth to the biblical doctrine of the two kingdoms and to the separation of Church and State. Centuries after Christ, Christian vocation, the baptismal call to love and serve […]