Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Orphan Sunday

I'm not sure the term "celebrating" is the right term for what to do with Orphan Sunday...perhaps "Remember," "Commemorating," or "Honoring." I'm sure those behind the movement to bring awareness to the orphan crisis by creating Adoption Awareness month and Orphan Sunday had the dilemma of what to name it.

Regardless of how we acknowledge it, it's my prayer that each year, more and more churches are using Orphan Sunday as a way to challenge their congregation to get involved in God's call to care for orphans.

Unfortunately, we had technical difficulties at our church on Sunday, so we weren't able to show the video or host the live event from Nashville with Steven Curtis Chapman.

However, I have never been more proud of my husband as I was after he preached on Sunday. His sermon was incredibly powerful and poignant for Orphan Sunday. So often, preachers will simply relate the concept of adoption to our own spiritual condition, from which we needed God to ransom us, defend us, and call us His own adopted child in order to save us from our sins. That is all true. It's all vitally important. But James 1:27 is often glossed over.

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

Too many churches, too many pastors, want to forget about our responsibility to live out our act upon the "as you have done to the least of these, you've done unto me." (Matt. 25:40).

My husband is not among them, and he leads his church to not be among them. He calls it like it is. To share the change God has wrought in his own heart, he gave the illustration of a student sitting in class, dutifully paying attention, silently praying that the teacher will not call on him to give the answer! And that when the teacher did call on him to respond to James 1:27, he was dutiful, but not necessarily passionate about it. But when we respond in faith, God does a mighty work all the way around...and with tears in his eyes, Mark shared his new perspective. "That's my child over there, and I'm going to go get her!"

Do we have that passion? Do we have the heart of God, to love and reach out the way God would? I've said it before and I'll say it again: the church has done a shoddy job of caring for orphans. It's time to change that. If we are the Body, why aren't His arms reaching? We sang that song on Sunday, and I pray it isn't just words we sang, but a battle cry we're issuing as we reach out.

I would love for you to leave a comment about what your church did for Orphan Sunday.

And if it didn't do anything, and you're willing to be a spark in your church, please email me (milligansnorth at gmail dot com) your mailing address, and I will send you a resource DVD to use for next year.

Or go to, and pick a clip to show your pastor and ask him to show it during church sometime this month...Adoption Awareness goes on! A single video clip of just over a minute might be exactly what God wants to use in someone's life.

And start praying, or keep on praying, for orphans to make their way into their forever families.

The only wrong way to help orphans is to do nothing at all.

1 comment:

Jennifer M said...

Darn it Wendy, you started me bawling all over again! :-) (said through a watery laugh) I can just picture Mark saying that, and you do have an awesome husband!