St Andrew Lutheran Church 

   4420 Center Point Rd NE
   Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
   (319) 393-4021
   www.standrewlutheran.org

 
Christ in the World

 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

I was on a business trip in Atlanta, riding the Red-Red Line back to the airport on a Wednesday afternoon.  The rail car was about half full as we stopped at the next station along the route.  People started to stand up to get off when I noticed a large, unhappy, slightly disheveled man at the other end of the car looking my way.  I watched the other commuters exit and enter, and just as the doors closed to depart the station, that man slumped down in the seat in front of me.

I know this may seem odd, seeing as though I am so often viewed as gruff and unapproachable, most likely due to my resemblance to Gary Burghoff (“Radar”), but this was not the first time I have been “selected”.  His name was James and he had been an underwater welder for 26 years in San Diego before being laid off and ending up stranded in Atlanta.  He had been “saved” and, surprisingly, even considered me (a Lutheran) “saved” as well.  But James, if that was his name, was “tired and running out of patience” and he needed to raise $50 for a three-night stay at a Pay Shelter.

After passing through a few more stations and conversing (mostly listening and nodding) with James, I was beginning to feel uneasy about my situation.  People got on and off, seemingly oblivious to our existence.  In my estimation he could have knocked me out with one swing and made off with my backpack and carry-on bag.  But then two young women boarded and sat down just beyond us.  One of them never glanced our way.  But as the train pulled away from that station, and James began talking again, I noticed the other one had her eyes fixed on the two of us.

We rode along through a few more stations and whenever I glanced her way I saw her eyes still watching us.  The expression on her face was one of serious concern, but not fear.  Once, after James again mentioned the need for money, I saw her silently mouth the words “Don’t do it.”  When her stop came, she got up and left; her eyes were still fixed on James and me.  Then, as the doors closed and we began to trundle on toward the airport, I became aware that I was no longer quite as anxious; but why?  Clearly my situation seemed to be deteriorating as time passed and the number of riding passengers thinned.

It wasn’t until much later, on my flight home, that I realized what had happened.  I believe I had witnessed Christ’s presence in the world.  Granted, Christ didn’t summon a MARTA security officer to board our rail car along the route (like I may have silently prayed).  Instead, he made himself known through that young woman.  Although she didn’t say anything nor do anything, her constant attention and expression of genuine concern let me know that even as complete strangers, people do care about other people.

While I do still pray for James, that he someday crosses paths with a local resource that can support his true needs, I also pray in thanksgiving for that young lady.  I hope she too feels she is being watched over by Christ through people around her.

Thanks be to God!

David Krueger

                                                Music:  We Are Not Alone

 
Worship Times
Holy Communion
  Saturday 5:30 pm
  Sunday 9:30 am
  
All are welcome to our Summer Sunday Fellowship hour at 10:45am Join us for refreshments and fellowship in the library 
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