Faithlife Sermons


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After attending a concert of Viennese music at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, Fla. I noticed an old man in the foyer, circling in three-quarter time.  “It makes me so happy, that music!” he said when he stopped near me.  “I came from Vienna.”

“You miss your homeland?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “I love America.  You know why?  It was 1921 I came, alone, on a boat, to Baltimore.  I stood on the dock, so afraid, waiting for my sponsors to ‘claim’ me.  Suddenly coming toward me is a big man in a policeman’s uniform.  My heart pounds, and I fumble for papers.  Then he smiles.  ‘Can I help you?’ he says.  No threats, no commands, just ‘Can I help you?’  Do you know what that meant to me?  A country where a policeman says, ‘Can I help you?’

“And not only that man, but so many others, so many times saying, ‘Can I help you?’  Yes, I love America, my can-I-help-you country:”

He danced away, and I moved on, too, silently thinking him.

Reader’s Digest, September, 1980, page 89

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