Jam 1:27 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.
Religion. I am such a nerd I had to do a bit of a word study on this… James talks about this thing. And advocates for it. Since I don’t believe tat James was recommending instating the modern version of Torah observance and all it’s accoutremont as more responsibility than obeying the words and example of Christ/Yeshua, I proposed to look into it further.
Religion… θρησκεία thrēskeia pronounced thrā-skā’-ä, means religious worship which sounds ridiculous… I hate it when people choose to define the word WITH the word. Um, looking for a definition folks! So, I looked deeper and found this…
a) esp. external, that which consists of ceremonies
Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and draw some very simple conclusions. I could be a moron for trying, but, hey! We’re all friends here! Right?
Ok, limb crawling commences.
Is it conceivable that James, the brother of Yeshua, is saying that the CEREMONY of our faith, the outward and external evidence that requires our conscious effort is none other than caring for the weakest and poorest among us? Making sure their needs are met and meeting them where they are? You know, “in their affliction”.
I’m just sayin’. Pure, katharos, (root of cathartic which means emotionally purging). This is the type of clean which is physically, levitically and ethically clean. Still with me?
So, the only kind of acceptable ceremony for the exemplification of our faith is to:
look upon or after, to inspect, examine with the eyes
a) in order to see how he is, i.e. to visit, go to see one
1) the poor and afflicted, the sick
b) to look upon in order to help or to benefit
1) to look after, have care for, provide for: of God
c) to look (about) for, look out (one to choose, employ, etc.)
Or to episketomei to VISIT those who have no one to care for them.
This doesn’t mean sing carols on Christmas at the nursing home. It means go every week and love on them. It means LOOK for those who need and WORK to bless them.
And this expression is undefiled. Amiantos, pure from sin. Free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigour impaired. Do you get that sentence just there? This undefiled religion is something that would, of it’s own nature, be defiled but through some external force has become the opposite of it’s natural inclination.
It’s not boxes. It’s responsibility. But it’s not like much of anything I’ve seen patterned in the churches I’ve attended.
And we can’t forget the last part of James 1:27. You know, where we are commanded, as a part of this pure and undefiled expression to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world?”
Unspotted? It’s a metaphor for being free from censure, irreproachable. To be free from vice, unsullied by what? The world, the cosmos. Everything that exists, every group, every constitution, every heavenly host. Clean, pure and free.
To serve the weak.
Sounds like Someone else I know.
And that’s my long answer to Eagle and Rick’s conversation on religion.
As to anyone who thinks I am hungering for a ministry? Please don’t misunderstand me. I can barely force myself to attend church and sit in the back row. The only ministry I am interested in is the blanket and bonfire or pedicure and Belgian truffle variety.
I know that G-d loves me. I am learning He likes me. I’m trying to comprehend that He’s working on my behalf.
See, I inhaled several times in the last minute. And exhaled too.
G-d’s grace is still evident in my life.