Last year a tree fell in our older daughter’s back yard and had to be removed. The family knew there was a wren’s nest under the back deck near where the tree had been; however, there was no choice but to remove the tree and grind the stump so the grass could be replanted. As the tree service was pulling down branches and cutting up the wood, two baby birds tried to fly away before they were quite feathered for the task. They landed on the ground and died.
Like most idealists who come to India for the first time, we initially expected to see a storybook land of maharajas, magic carpets, temples and mosques to inspire our imaginations. However, living here on the ground with the people is far different than just touching the tarmac, going to a posh hotel and chronicling a visit with photographs once or twice a year. There is a harsh reality of having three times the number of people the US census claims all squashed into one-third the land space. To get some idea of what it really is, multiply your family by three and then imagine two-thirds less living space! Or multiply your family by nine in the same living space. That’s mind boggling.
KEEPING OURSELVES UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD
“Pure religion and undefiled before (the) 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).
We should always be aware of impurities in our lives and be seeking the Lord to show us how to get rid of them. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).
HELPING THE NEEDY
“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31:9).
A second necessary characteristic of those who seek to have a pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. “Pure religion and undefiled before (the) God and the Father is this, to visit (1980 – literally to inspect) the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
BRIDLING THE TONGUE
“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 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 1:26-27).