by Bob Wickizer

Two Celebrations
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Deuteronomy 10:17-21; Psalm 145:1-9; Hebrews 11:8-16; Matthew 5:43-48
4 July, 1999

About fifty yards from the white three-story farmhouse stood the old log cabin torn down in the early 1950s. The family had immigrated to the Midwest near the fertile Missouri River bottomlands and the log cabin remained on the family homestead as a reminder of those days of hope almost a century before. In the decades before the US Civil War, tour books were written in Germany extolling the beauty of the Missouri River Valley. Often the Missouri River was compared to the Rhine and people were encouraged to flee their industrialized, post-feudal German homeland for the unspoiled beauty and economic opportunities of America's heartland. So the family settled there in central Missouri along with thousands of others. Even the church geography of their native Germany was replicated by the Catholics settling on the south bank of the Missouri River and the protestant Lutherans settling on the north bank. As they settled there, they became foreigners seeking a homeland. As the letter to the Hebrews says, "they desired a better country."

On the West Coast of the United States, after the upheaval of Mao Zedung and his Cultural Revolution in China thousands of middle class families fled Mainland China to settle in Los Angeles. Among them were the Wangs, a Christian family of seven brothers. The parents never learned English but that did not slow them much in their new land. Mom sold real estate. Dad opened a successful chain of Chinese restaurants. One of the brothers became the first non-native born US citizen to ever graduate from West Point. The other brothers all became successful engineers and doctors. Scratch beneath the surface with this family and you will learn of their experiences becoming strangers and seeking a new homeland. Again, the letter to the Hebrews describes the experience of looking forward and not looking back. "If they had ...

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