Orphan Sunday

Guest ColumnistCommunity News

by Tracy Wilcox

On November 7, 2010 Santa Barbara Community Church and hundred of other churches will participate in Orphan Sunday to rally church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan. Community ONE:27 is sponsoring this event with the hope that our community will respond in a purposeful way.

Community ONE:27 is a ministry of Santa Barbara Community Church.  We are dedicated to mobilizing our community to care for the orphan.  We are building an intentional orphan care culture through international orphan care, adoption and foster care.  Our mission is to defend the cause of the orphans by declaring God’s mandate for their care. Our passion is to equip believers from every stage of life to “defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17).”

As a community of believers we want to see lives of children transformed for the glory of God.  We are learning that love transforms! It transforms a child who is loved and nurtured maybe for the first time.It transforms us as we seek out God’s heart and learn to rely on him while we do His work. It transforms our community as we wrap around one another and offer support and love for a common cause.  Finally, love transforms the world as they watch Christians pouring out God’s love for those who are called “the least of these” according to the world’s standards.  Join in the journey to transform lives through loving orphans.

Jedd Medefind, the President of Christian Alliance for Orphans and a Westmont graduate (1997), wrote this about the four key reasons we should care for orphans.[1]

Caring for orphans reflects the heart of God.  From Isaiah’s call to “defend the cause of the fatherless” (1:17) to James’ placement of orphan care at the heart of “pure and undefiled religion” (1:27), the biblical mandate is clear.   But this is not merely God’s expectation of us; it is a mirroring of His own character.  “He defends the fatherless,” declares Deuteronomy 10:18.  Describes the Psalmist, “He places the lonely in families.”  To be like our heavenly Father, we’re invited to do the same.

Caring for orphans makes the Gospel visible.  At the heart of the Christian story is the God who pursued us when we were destitute and alone.  He adopted us as His children, and invites us to live as His sons and daughters.  Perhaps nothing makes this truth more tangible than when Christians follow in their Father’s footsteps, opening heart and home in unconditional affection to the child that has no claim upon them but love.

Caring for orphans defies the gods of our age.  Darwinism’s sole ethical imperative is to ensure one’s own genetic material carries forward.  So like Gideon tearing down his father’s idols (Judges 6), we assault this dictate when we seek to ensure the survival, and thriving, of a child that does not share our genes. Meanwhile, the purposeful sacrifices required to love this child flout the demands of other gods also, from materialism to self-actualization to comfort.  The cost must be counted.  But—compared to the depth and richness found along the path of caring for orphans—these false gods are shown to be as lifeless and unsatisfying as statues of bronze or wood.

Caring for orphans invites a journey of discipleship.  “I see these kids changed,” explained a woman who helps Christians get involved with foster care, “But I think the parents are changed even more.”  It’s true. Every family I know that’s opened themselves to parentless children has not gone unaltered.  And though the road can be hard, even painful, virtually always it leads closer to Jesus.  Expressed one adoptive mom recently, “People have said, ‘Oh, aren’t they lucky, you rescued them from whatever.’  And I think, Are you kidding?  I’m the lucky one.  I get to be their mom.  And I get to be daily rescued from my selfishness, and my impatience, and things that are just as disease-ridden in my soul.”

Community ONE:27 strongly believes that every person can contribute to help the orphan.  We aim to make known various different resources to accommodate diverse spiritual gifts and seasons of life. Please take the time to read our 10 ways you can help, and then pray about where God is leading you on His mandate to care for the orphan.  Your act demonstrates Christ’s love and glorifies God.

[1]   Medefind, Jedd, Love for Orphans Transforms, Catalyst Space,http://www.catalystspace.com/content/read/june10_love_for_orphans_transforms/ (June 2010).