Presence of Jesus remains in this railway boomtown

Until I moved here in July, my Minot experience was largely confined to a week-long hospital visit 17 years ago. So much has changed that I actually thought (wrongly) that my stay was in Bismarck. A boom, a flood and two decades will do that. I’m told the south end of town sprang up like magic.

For the thousands pouring in, the familiar drawls, family and seasons are replaced by long winters and longer hours. For those who were already here, life’s pace has been quickened by traffic and construction.

Two decades ago, aunts and grandmothers could look out over the highway and recognize their children’s cars. In two months, I’ve seen license plates from 47 different states. To my knowledge, Rhode Island hasn’t visited yet.

The Magic City is filled with the foreign; and is now foreign, even to her children. So God speaks:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in. I needed clothes, and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I assure you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “

The hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the foreigner, the orphan are here, working in the oil fields. And so is Jesus. Whether we were born here or not, if we say our citizenship is in heaven, we are called to this railway boomtown.

Pastor Sam Kautzmann serves at First Baptist Church in Minot.