Saturday, January 8, 2011
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I was reading a blog post the other day about loneliness. The blogger was discussing the massive pull to social networks such as facebook. He contributed this need to connect with the reality that many of us are incredibly lonely, living our lives in search of some validation.
This post reminded me of something my friend Brad once said: "The greatest fear of man- is the fear of being invisible".
That comment hit me because I believe it to be true. We are living in a very paradoxical age- surrounded by avenues of communication, but isolated more than ever. Longing for someone to witness our lives...and somehow make us worthwhile.
If we're honest, we will come to terms with the truth that there are many lonely people out there. You might be one of them. I really believe that Jesus has a special place in his heart for those who feel alone. This verse is an example of that heart- a call to reach out to the loneliest people we can find. Its command is clear- to look after the orphans and the widows, those who have been neglected by society. This is true religion.
This day and age, "orphans and widows" are all around us. The old lady walking along the street by herself, the teenager from an abusive home, the immigrant trying to find a way to fit in, the child stuck in the ugly cycle of the foster care system. We are surrounded by orphans and widows, but if we aren't looking, we won't find them.
I'm convinced that within this verse is a command to reach out to the lonely, those who have no one else to run to and no where else to turn. It's time to take inventory of the fruit of our religion- by counting how many people we are reaching out to, rather than simply counting our "facebook friends".
This is true religion, the kind God looks down on and smiles. Maybe it's time to take this command seriously and sponsor a child through Compassion International or Christian Orphan Outreach. Maybe it's time to carve out some time to volunteer at the local pregnancy center or nursing home. Maybe it's time to take a look at the people right outside our door- our neighbors and our friends, and begin living in a way that makes others feel validated- that makes them feel visible.
On the other hand, maybe you are the one feeling all alone and invisible. Maybe you are longing for someone to reach out to you. It's time to take free yourself from the pit of loneliness. It's time to recognize your needs and reach out to those around you...
May God give us grace to recognize our own needs as well as reach out to touch the needs of others. May we learn the art of validation, and of making others visible. Amen.
Lessons Learned by Debra Fileta at 8:28 PM