Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dude, What's Up With Your Shirt?

Today is Orphan Sunday around the world. Our church was a part of this growing movement to do what the Bible has called the Church to do: take care of the orphan.  While my wife had on her Orphan Sunday t-shirt that she got from the Together For Adoption Conference we just attended, I had on my "Be A Story Teller" t-shirt. 

As I handed out brochures about our Hands of Hope ministry(, there were those who paid attention to my t-shirt and asked, "What does that even mean?" 

My favorite was one young man asked, "Dude, what's up with your shirt? What's that got to do with Orphan Sunday?"

I was glad they asked because it gave me the opportunity to tell them.

"Be A Story Teller" means to be a voice for the voiceless. 

Speak up for them. 

Tell their stories. 

These kids in orphanages and foster homes are children.  Kids with stories, painful stories that need to be heard.  When the Church steps up and becomes truly involved in orphan and foster care, they help reveal the character of God to the world.  Jesus said that the world will know His followers by their love.  Do we see that in our churches in regards to their doing as He commanded to take care of the least of these?  Are we reflecting the character of the "Father to the Fatherless" in the communities in which we live?  

By loving orphans and foster children as our own, we are giving snapshots of the kingdom of God.

Fred Rogers once said, "We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say, "It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.  Then there are those who see the need and respond."

Does the body of Christ see the need and respond?

Do we reach out to the orphan and foster child with the same radical generosity and compassion that Jesus reached out to us? If He has reached out to us in radically profound grace then we should be motivated to do likewise.  

Do you the name of one orphan or one foster kid?  Do you know his or her story? Do you take the time to see these children as children and not issues or social problems?  These kids have names, have stories and their stories need to be a part of our own.  They need to be embraced and welcomed into our homes and into the family of God.  

I love that our orphan and foster care ministry is called "Hands of Hope" because, as Walter Wangerin, Jr. wrote, "the Hebrew word for "hope" contains a fierce element of tension between hoping for a thing and possessing it."

We need to be hands of hope to these kids. They are hoping for forever families. We need to help them possess that.  And to do this, we need to step up. We, all of us, need to be story tellers for these kids. 

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