On Valentine's Day I wrote a story about a developmentally-different man from our church, Mark. (Notice I'm not keen on using the word "disabled.") Sadly, Mark lost his momma this last week, the one person who loves and cares for him consistently.
Mark sits about 4-5 rows in front of us on the organ side in church (though said organ is rarely used). He never fails to greet me. But he always sits by his lonesome. It's the way he likes it, the way he's comfortable. His older brother Ed, on the other hand, who is also developmentally different and as sunny as a teddy bear, sits in the middle of the auditorium with his good buddy Joe--right in front of Pastor Chuck, so he can feel like he's a part of the action. (At least that's the way I see it.)
So when Mark was oddly missing from his usual Sunday morning post and Pastor Chuck announced that his mom had died, I was beside myself. Excuse me, but what in the world?!? Lord? Are you at all aware that these two men rely on her protection and her nurture? Where could they go? Who will take up their cause? Who will make sure Mark is sitting five pews in front of me come 9:15 on Sunday mornings? Oh, sadness...
So I've tried to pray for these brothers. And yesterday I stopped in at the funeral home before the service, mainly to hug them. A church friend, Carol and I, told them we loved them and that we were praying for them. After a few bear hugs, Ed said with a cheerful grin, "You ladies are so sweet." After that comment, I wanted to take both of them home with me.
Today, when visiting church, I started a conversation with a lady about how Ed and Mark are the orphans referred to in James 1:27:
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
And today, I am asking myself this question: with no nearby relatives that I'm aware of, how can we as a church take up their cause? This is the messy, tricky, question-filled, groaning of my heart today. So as I write this, I ask: will you pray with me that God will provide a way for them? That our church will know how to respond and be obedient to God's Word? That in all of this, we'll discover what it means to care for orphans in their needs? Dear Jesus, please help us. Soothe their pain today. Take up their cause and defend them. Use us to love them, and love them well. Amen.
I've never done this before on this blog. But if you're with me on this, please add your prayer below.