“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” – James 1:26-27
Working at City Care of Hillsong Australia, our vision is to care about people. There are families in distress (through redundancy, long-term unemployment, family & domestic violence, long-term sickness, incarceration, as refugees or asylum seekers); there are youth in turmoil (through bullying, peer pressure, family breakdown, drug & alcohol use, poverty, homelessness); or isolated people through disability, mental health challenges, changed circumstances, grief, loss, aging… Etc, etc, etc. this list could go on and on.
We are surrounded by a world of people – human beings who are intrinsically full of value and loved by the Father – who are struggling and fighting to keep their head above water, to breathe, to make a better life for themselves and their families. To this end, we believe that a critical and necessary part of the expression of our faith is the extension of our hand (in whatever form that may be – our time, our treasure, our talent) to others. Others are the people outside our immediate circle, outside our church family. Others are who may have a different belief system, who may have a different lifestyle or values. With all their history, their complexity, their challenge. We boldly, but thoughtfully and with wisdom, take the mandate given to us to “reach out” (James 1:27) and to “bring out the God-colours in the world” (Matt 5:14).
So the question then is…
Where can we get involved in the ‘reaching out’? What can we do, beyond the immediate and pressing issues of our own family and life, to help someone else step up into the life that God intends for them?
As we all play our part, we will start to see heaven brought to earth, and a beautiful expression of Jesus, working in and through us, played out in our schools, communities and workplaces. It will be a sight to behold!
By Vickie Rough, City Care Hillsong Australia