Entries by Pastor Monte

Heaven and Nature Sing

Christmas Eve-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and all that fills it.” (Psalm 96:11) “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) The story of Jesus’ birth is about union with […]

Shame Turned to Glory

Advent 4A-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago I hatched a plan to surprise my parents with a fresh cut Christmas tree. I think I imagined it to be a proud moment. I was all grown up. I was five years old. Had I been successful, I probably wouldn’t remember it so well.  Shame leaves an indelible imprint […]

A Season for Doubting

Advent 3A-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago December 15, 2019 John the Baptist paces back and forth in his narrow cell.  Imprisoned by King Herod, he questions how he lived his life.  Last Sunday John stood beside the Jordan preaching in the wilderness. He seemed so sure of himself. But now that he faces a stupid death, […]

A Light Revealed in Darkness

Advent 2A-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1).  With beautiful words the prophet Isaiah describes his vision of a future king, like David, who rules with “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of […]

A Day Hike Down

Advent 1A-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago The prophet Isaiah calls us, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that God may teach us God’s ways and that we may walk in God’s paths.” (Isaiah 2:3) Scripture tells of many mountains upon which people of […]

Big and Small Things

Proper 28C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago On February 14th, 1990 the Voyager I space probe sent a love letter.  It was Valentine’s Day. The probe had already travelled 13 years and nearly 4 billion miles from earth when the late-great astronomer Carl Sagan, convinced NASA engineers to turn Voyager’s camera toward earth for one final photo. […]

Kingdom Coming

Proper 27C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago The leaves are mostly down now.  The trees along the parkway across the street, displayed a fiery red. The little Maple near the front walkway is still a glowing yellow. Some people, like trees, reveal their inner glory late in life. To appreciate fall is to savor transience and transition. […]

The Crowded Table

All Saints C-19 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago John of Patmos foretold peoples of all nations streaming to the City of God. In worship, time and eternity are joined in the eternal now. Saints of every time and place crowd in among us. Seems like a great opportunity to ask one of them about Jesus’ sermon on […]

Love Notes

Reformation Sunday, 2019 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago When I was five, I fell asleep on the back of my grandpa’s tractor while he was cutting hay. I got a big ball of dirt and grass in my lungs. “Pneumonia,” they said. I would need regular injections of penicillin. In those days there were no pills to […]

Fearless Enough to Give Thanks

Proper 23C-2019 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago It’s bedtime on a school night years ago. Leah washes her face and brushes her teeth. I fetch a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and open to where we left off the night before. Leah comes and shows me her new sparkly boots and other stuff […]