Reflections on Orphan Sunday...

Guest Post from Altar 84's Jodie Frye...
There has been a “stirring” lately, at least in my little world, about a day that is called Orphan Sunday.  So, naturally, I have been pondering, praying, and trying to figure out how in the world to address it, and understand it, with grace and truth.
Just to get the official definition out there, especially for those of you who may not know what it is: Orphan Sunday is a global “day” set aside for Christians {the Church} to stand-up, speak-up, and demonstrate God’s heart for the fatherless.  It is “your opportunity to rouse church, community, and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.” (CAFO)  This year, Orphan Sunday is on Sunday, November 3rd.
Sounds amazing, right?  So what’s the stirring all about?
Why this “one” DAY?  Some may debate that other “mercy-ministry” groups within the church, such as the sojourner or the widow, don’t get a day for the Church to stand-up, speak-up, and demonstrate God’s heart for them.
I humbly believe the Father’s rhetorical response to this “debate” may go something like this: Well, why not?  At least that’s what He has pressed into my heart.  They too need champions to speak up, defend, and seek justice for them.  If someone wants to create a day for that Gospel-centered vision, I say go for it.
Personally, I need as many stirrings within my complacent self as possible…because I really do desire obedience in the whole Gospel.
“Love is not love until you express it.” (Pastor Billy Chondwe, Zambia)

Here’s the thing…it’s not about the DAY.  It’s about awareness that leads to action, among those for whom the “day” was designed to impact, the Body of Christ.  We need to be stirred.  We need to be wrecked.  We need to fully embrace every thread of the Gospel, every single day that we have breath.
But sometimes, it just takes a DAY for an awakening, whenever or whatever that day may be. Because we are such.flesh, so bent toward our self-centered little worlds and ideologies.
Just think about all the other beautiful, amazing DAYs that we celebrate and embrace. Days that we pause from the normal chaos of our worlds and remember:
Martin Luther King Day
Valentine’s Day
Easter Day
Mother’s Day
Father’s Day
Independence Day
Veteran’s Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day
To name just a few.
And of those few, how many truly display the Gospel  - the Holy God-man of Heaven entering into the broken sin-man of Earth, to redeem and restore and rescue her {because that is what we truly want to celebrate, right}?
Orphan Sunday was birthed in a small and humble, hard-pressed church in Lusaka, Zambia.  Pastor Chondwe and his 70 member-church simply sought to be faithful with a Gospel-stirring that God was crafting within their souls, on behalf of the widows and orphans within their own community.  And this stirring led to a {God-sized} vision.
Should we, the Body of Christ, really be concerned about one “day” being devoted to Orphan Sunday?
Yes and No.
With transparency, I must confess, I have had moments that I’ve wrestled with one day being set apart for something that should be a part of our every day … especially when that one day may be the only day that a vision is given voice, or maybe just a whisper, within the church or within the heart of the people.   We must steward the missions He entrusts us with, with passion and focus, all year long. 
Here’s the truth about Orphan Sunday, or any other day for that matter…it’s about the tapestry of the Gospel, the vision of the Father’s heart, intersecting and weaving into EVERY fiber of our lives.  We must be careful not to compartmentalize the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission.
But…if it takes a DAY {or a whole month or year} to ignite His Bride, for whatever thread of Truth has been marginalized, then surely, it should be done.  Surely, it displays Love.  Surely, it makes disciples who GO.  Surely, it makes the angels sing.  Surely, it makes much of the Father’s glory.
There is something to be said about the sense of unity that a God-given purpose, on a given day, flames into fire. BUT, remember, it’s not about the day in and of itself.  The focus must be on moving forward with the vision of the day and the Glory of the One who inspired it all.  {And if your church doesn’t ever have a “day”, that’s alright too.  Just keep serving, right where He has you, using your God-given time, talents, and treasures … He sees, He knows, and His Bride will be all the more beautiful.}
“My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.”  {1 John 3:18, MSG}
To understand more about the {real} vision and heart of Orphan Sunday, watch this beautiful story, “Zambia’s Gift to the World”.
And speaking of vision…maybe the {truth} is that our deepest concern should just be about what is really on the Father’s heart in all of this, and at the heart of this post: the orphan.
**This post was originally published on Altar 84's blog, Nestsongs. I'm so grateful for their willingness to share their heart and vision with us.
Clinging to Jesus ~

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