In a week or two we will be making an announcement about an exciting opportunity for the Jesus Creed blog community. Today I want to quote some Bible and remind us that whether we take this verse in a more literal or more expansive sense, you and I — people of global privilege — have an obligation to care for orphans, widows and (to expand these) the marginalized and suffering and neglected. Now from James 1:27:
Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James, brother of Jesus, defines “pure and undefiled” religion — as kosher of terms as you will ever find — as caring for orphans and widows and holiness.
There are about 150 million orphans in the world today.
Do you know how many people that means? If you cut the USA in half, run a line down the Mississippi, and take everyone West of the big river, you will have approximately 150 million. Imagine everyone west of the Mississippi being an orphan, and dwell on it a minute.
Millions of kids, millions of young adults, millions of folks emerging into adulthood with little parental modeling, less parental care, nurture and love and — here’s the worst part of this — millions of orphans sold into slavery, sexual slavery, and prostitution. Approximately 2.5 million orphaned children have the AIDS virus … and it is not possible to calculate the diseases, illnesses and lack of medical care for millions of orphaned children.
What ought also to disturb us is this: James says that “pure and undefiled” religion is to care for orphans (and widows). How pure and undefiled is our religion? Your religion?
In a week or two, as I said above, we will be making an announcement of an exciting opportunity we have been offered to care for orphans. The details will be clear soon, and when they are I’ll let you know.
I have posted this on Thanksgiving Day here in the USA for a reason: when we look at our abundance, may we think of those who suffer and are hungry and are orphaned.