Yesterday, Nov. 2nd, was Orphan Sunday 2015. I have never heard of Orphan Sunday before, but it was mentioned at church this week-end and I was curious about what it was all about. I know that Saturday was All Saint’s Day and Sunday was All Soul’s Day, but Orphan Sunday? What’s that all about?
It turns out that this special day is to specifically reach out and connect with people who have been orphaned in the hopes that they will come to know love and compassion and caring – all through the hands and feet of Jesus – the mandate that believers are to fulfill on this earth. I know a number of adopted people. With rare exception they are well adjusted, normal people, so it never really occurred to me, on a heart level, that there are special identity issues that orphans face. Now I’m not naive. Of course, intellectually I know that there are differences, but since I have never been really close to someone who was adopted, I really can’t relate to some of the special questions that they have.
But it was pointed out that children, in particular, don’t feel that they “belong” to anybody. And that can lead to identity issues that can work on them for many years of their lives. It is almost incomprehensible that people wouldn’t know who their biological mother or father is but that is the reality for many thousands of children each year. Our church was challenged, a number of years ago, to adopt children who had been orphaned, from various countries around the world and there were quite a few families who reached out and added one or more homeless children to their households. I remember the timing of all this quite vividly and it was spectacular. Many children who would have otherwise fallen through the cracks found new permanent homes with many members of our congregation.
The Bible is full of illustrations of how important children are to God. To be sure sure, there are many older teens, all the way to young adults, who have found new homes and have been able to break the cycle of living in orphanages or foster homes. But the overwhelming majority of people are young and have no idea why their lives have taken this unwelcome detour.
The verse for tonight is a simple one that illustrates that God has a heart for children. We are told, in Luke 18:16, “But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” My encouragement this evening is that God wants you to represent Him in this world, especially to the little ones who can’t take care of themselves. My prayer is that you will see how special and important these young lives are to the Savior of the world. Perhaps you are in a position to adopt someone yourself – or at least you can help support orphans with your time, treasure and talents in the hope that you will demonstrate being the hands and feet of God in this world. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…