This is a picture I recently discovered of my dad, from around 1949. You can't tell from the picture, but I remember the neighborhood well enough to know that he's standing outside his home Church, Augustana Lutheran (at the time it was called First Augustana, because it was the first Augustana church in Minneapolis).
Standing next to my dad is his friend Carlton, who was also associate pastor at the time. He looks like he's getting ready to preach, doesn't he? I remember that Pastor Franzen used to come get us for Bible School in his station wagon. When I was very small, our family also attended Augustana Lutheran Church with my parents and grandparents.
My father's parents, as some of you might recall, were Swedish immigrants. Folke and Judith found a Swedish Lutheran congregation after they settled down here. Augustana held services in Swedish and in English; I believe they still hold the traditional 6:00 a.m. Service on Christmas Day in Swedish.
So, we're just thinking about reaching out to immigrants in our community, simply because we have suddenly looked around and realized that there are a lot of immigrants in our community. And some people are saying, "Why did they come here? What are they doing here?"
And I look at this picture of my dad, and I think, you know, it wasn't so long ago, and they were probably saying the same things about us, "Why did they come here? What are they doing here?"
It wasn't so long ago that we were the immigrants.
"The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:34