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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. […]

Pathways of Grace

Lent 1A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Sometime in July 1673, seven men left the Mississippi to paddle up the Illinois to the Des Plaines River. They found an Indian trail running along what is now Irving Park Road, portaged a mile and a half, then put into the Chicago River which they were startled to discover […]

It is Good Lord, to Be Here

Transfiguration A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago 500 years before Christ, Rabbis called Mount Tabor “the navel of the world.”  The peak rises abruptly, yet gently, from the plain like the belly of a pregnant woman. It is modest, covered in pine, about 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It rises almost 2,000 feet above […]

Written on Your Heart

Epiphany 6A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago I saw hearts everywhere this week. Hearts, flowers, cupcakes, and balloons in shiny red and white colors. The playgroup had a Valentine’s Day party. I stumbled on another at Wesley Place. The Tuesday night Compass kids sent Immanuel a Valentine’s card on Facebook. Kari’s cousin is in town. We had […]

Salt and Light

5th Sunday After Epiphany Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world (Mtt. 5:13a & 14a). Jesus used two memorable metaphors of grace in his Sermon on the Mount. Yet, I don’t thing modern people really know what he meant.  Sure, maybe you’ve experienced […]

Groundhog Day

Presentation of our Lord Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago By now I’m sure most of America is getting ready for the big day. Yes—you know what I mean. It’s Groundhog Day. How many saw the 1993 movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell?  So, did I.  According to German folklore transplanted to America in 1887 by Lutherans […]