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1 Lent - Deuteronomy 26:1-11

The spokeswoman for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services pleaded for patience because the staff is so small for a situation so big.

The need, and also the generous response, were overwhelming.

That was four months ago, shortly after the United States left Afghanistan.

The long process of resettling immigrants from Afghanistan is really only beginning, and it is complicated by other ongoing commitments and issues at our southern border.

All of this before the invasion of Ukraine.

Now millions more are fleeing, or trying to flee, a homeland ravaged by war.

The Shepherd of the Valley Foundation has committed $1,000 to Lutheran World Relief, which will be matched by an ELCA congregation in Wisconsin, meaning $2,000 given toward

food, shelter, medical supplies, quilts, and care kits in Ukraine.

Thank you for your generosity and foresight, which have positioned us to respond so quickly.

The legacy of Deuteronomy lives on.

I look forward to a day when an Eastern European farmer brings a fruit basket to his priest and says, A wandering Ukrainian was my ancestor.

He escaped into Poland and lived there as an alien when the Russians treated us harshly.

We cried to the LORD, the God of our ancestors; the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, and so did the LORD's people around the globe.

With a mighty hand and an outstreteched arm, the LORD brought us through fires and fears to this place where now we live in abundance and peace.

So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O LORD, have given me.

Then, together with family and refugees from somewhere else, the farmer celebrates the tenuous and tenacious miracle of life.

We're not there yet, of course.

Neither were the people in Deuteronomy.

Moses talks fruit and milk and honey to refugees living on manna.

They are no longer in their homeland, they are not yet in their promised land.

They are still in the wilderness, still in between, still on the run for their lives.

But Moses will not let them be imprisoned in the present.