Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Fatherless and the Widows

Growing up, I was apart of a family, that wasn't really a family. We were related by blood, but not by love. It was a sad, lonely life growing up in that family. They weren't necessarily mean, no, just....loveless. Their concerns in life was more towards themselves than other members of the family. This attitude was a source of many contentions and conflict.

Now, it wouldn't have been so bad, if I wasn't the youngest (in a family of six). It wouldn't have been so bad if both of my parents hadn't passed away by the time I was seventeen. As strange as it may seem, during these hard, hard times, we were all faithfully involved in a church.

As a young adult, I was in need emotionally and spiritually. Surrounded by a bevy of Christians, in which my family also considered themselves Christians. I was surrounded by Christians who were uncomfortable with my needs. Christians who insinuated my situation was result of "hidden sin" or a curse handed down by God. I was rebuffed, it seemed, at every turn. No, love and support from my own family, no love and support from my church. This was the first church I was a member of. It sparked a beginning of church searching and attending which was to last 13 years. Sadly, I've only encountered variations of the same mindset since then.

I THANK GOD, my Father, who indeed was and is a FATHER to me, that I was not lead away from Him, as "a little child" by these offences. Matthew 18 I THANK GOD I was able to differentiate between Him, His Son and the condition of church today. It is not my intention, today, to write about His mercy. It goes without saying, that without HIS LOVE and tender mercies, I would not be the strong, confident woman I've become.

What I want to do, instead, is ask you personally, those of you who attend a church, how is your faith as explained in the context of James 2:14-26 ? How is your church's faith, as explained in the context of James 2:14-26 ? I'm not referring to the varying projects and missionary efforts, I've been apart of churches who were missionary-minded. I'm talking about that one person in your church who seems, a bit more needy than others. Whose clothes seem less expensive than others. Whose car is at least fifteen years old. Whose eyes seemed filled with the desire for compassion and mercy. Anyone can go to Africa. Anyone can traipse in uncharted jungles, but it takes a person with heart to recognize a brother or sister in need (spiritual, emotional, physical) and GIVE accordingly, unconditionally.

After so many years, my family hasn't changed much. They still consider themselves Christians and are involved with varying denominations and "beliefs". We live separate lives with little or no contact with one another.

I find myself hoping against hope, that I would experience the unity and love Christ prayed for, John 17:20-26, in my lifetime, in the midst of a nation inundated with churches.This Sunday, as you prepare for church, remember that person, sitting in your pew, with the sad eyes...that was me.

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27

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