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By Rev. Phil Ruud

After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child with his mother and escape to Egypt...” -Matthew 2:13

For several years in late summer, when the evenings start to turn colder, thousands of monarch butterflies have gathered in a field of wildflowers across from Cannon River Lutheran Church near Welch, MN.The monarchs feed on the nectar of the wildflowers during the day and roost in a long row of pine trees in the evening. As monarchs have a hard time flying when the temperature falls below 60 degrees, they are in that area only for a few days. Suddenly, almost all at once, they leave and continue their migration to where they will spend the winter in the warmer climates of California and Mexico.

Somehow, nature tells them that they must leave before it gets any colder or they will die.

Whenever I see a monarch, it reminds me of a cloth bag I own that has a monarch embroidered on the side of it. I bought it from a woman named Reina, whom I met at a shelter in a settlement not far from Juarez, Mexico, near the U.S./México border. She has come on a very long journey from Honduras with her daughter, Kelin, to seek asylum. While Reina waits for her court hearing, she embroiders these bags as a way to earn a living.

Reina knows that if she and her daughter had stayed in Honduras, more than likely they would die amid so much social, political, and economic unrest in her native country.

Like the magi in the story of the Day of Epiphany, you and I are also on a journey following the light of a star. The light of Christ leads us to care for those who are strangers, such as Reina and her daughter, Kelin.

Please pray with me:
Dear Lord, help us remember your teaching that as we do onto others, such as Reina and Kelin, so
we do also onto you. Amen.


Pastor Phil Ruud recently retired after serving at First English Lutheran Church, Cannon Falls. Pastor Phil visited SEMN Synod’s ministry partners at the U.S./México borderlands in January 2020.


View and download the complete 40 Together Daily Devotions book here.