September 11 
Patriot Day
   St Andrew Lutheran Church 
   4420 Center Point Rd NE
   Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
   (319) 393-4021
September 13, 2015
"Seeking Refuge"
     God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
     The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
     The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Psalm 46: 1-2, 6a., 7
     It would take some very creative avoidance these days to not be aware of the flood of humanity fleeing from the turmoil and danger of the Middle East.  Virtually every news source, whether newspaper, TV, or computer site, features pictures and stories of stunning levels of suffering and desperation.  We don't even need to exercise our imaginations, as these heart-wrenching events are played and replayed in vivid color and gruesome detail.

     The psalmist tells us that God is our refuge, even as the mountains shake and the nations are in uproar.  For something written thousands of years ago, it sounds as contemporary as if it was written last week.  Obviously, the word "refugee" comes from the root word of "refuge."  The refugee is one who is seeking that safe place, to escape from danger and hardship -- refuge. 

     When the Hebrew people heard the promise of God providing refuge, they heard it in the context of their history as wanderers -- forty years in the desert after the exodus from Egypt, enslavement  by various conquerors, and being chased off their lands by invading armies.  The image of losing your whole way of life and clinging to the hope of escaping with your loved ones is no longer a story from ancient times.  It is playing out before our eyes.  Every generation seems to have refugee stories -- the "displaced persons" of World War II, the Vietnamese boat people, and now this mass exodus of Middle Easterners.

       How can we be of any help to people across the globe?  How can we do anything of substance in providing the refuge they need?  First of all, we can pray for these refugees and for those attempting to help them.  It's a monumental task.  In doing some research, I learned that the ELCA Disaster Response, an agency within our national church, is working with companion churches in several European countries as well as the Lutheran World Federation.  Food, water, blankets, diapers, health kits, and hygiene kits are being provided, along with spiritual and social services for people under enormous stress.

     This devotion is not a fund-raiser, but it is useful to know that, according to the ELCA website, 100% of gifts designated for the Middle East & European Refugee crisis will be used in full to assist those directly impacted.  We can find ways, whether as individuals, congregations, or through international organizations, to reach out in the name of Christ, to offer comfort and refuge to these neediest of God's children. 
Your friend in Christ,
Mary Rogers
This Sunday A Very Special Sunday, September 13 All are welcome to a busy, joyful day starting with worship at 9:30 a.m., followed by a brunch served in Bethsaida Hall, hosted by Learning and Witness Ministry Teams. This kicks off the new year of learning and faith formation, as Sunday School and other learning opportunities begin on this day. After all are fed, inspired, and energized, "God's Work - Our Hands", the ELCA-wide event of community service opportunities will take place.
Worship Times
Holy Communion
  Saturday 5:30 pm
  Sunday 9:30 am
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