Pure Religion

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27

Two of our local congregations recently visited at several nursing facilities. We pass out cookies, sing a few hymns and visit briefly with the residents. They are always so appreciative of a touch, a sincere inquiry about their day, the songs of their youth. I watch as many sing from memory, listen with their eyes closed or even sleep peacefully the entire visit! :)

It is a small thing, once a month, to spend a few hours doing this. But what does God require of us? Just what we can do. We cannot all take orphans or widows into our homes, but we can visit a lonely, home-bound brother or sister. We can take a bowl of soup to a sick neighbor. We can share what God has given with those around us. But truly, we should share with those who cannot give us back. It's not 'what will I get out of this?' It's whose life can I make better, give comfort or remind them of the love of God.

God gave the best gift to us, can we not, out of the fullness of the gratitude in our own hearts, share with those who are the most vulnerable and needy; the children and the the elderly? As someone recently reminded me, we were once the former and will one day be the latter.

And this is just the beginning . . . but it's a place to start. And in the process we practice real religion, not just pretense. It's more than words.


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