Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 NIV
Pure religion is a theme near and dear to the Apostle James. Unlike many of the other letters in the New Testament written to a particular church discussing and correcting church matters, this book is a concise collection of wisdom. It is less about doctrine – the things we believe – and more about service and worship. Pure religion is the application of our beliefs.
While doctrine is essential in giving structure to our belief system, sometimes it limits our thinking of who God is, thus placing limits on his love. Let me give an example; at one point, certain doctrines held that women should not be clergy based on a corrupted interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12. In believing this, it says God somehow loved women less. However, we approach pure religion when we set our doctrine aside and focus on putting his love into action; our service Is received as worship pure and faultless.
As God's people, all 2.4 billion Christians, if we spent less time talking about what separates us as churches and instead focused on those that bring us together as the universal Church. As a united worshipping bride of Christ, we can do much more. We can care for the widows and orphans, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and bring about peace on earth. Bringing about the kingdom on earth God intended from the beginning.
God, we offer you praise and thanks for boundless love. Open our eyes to seeing you in your fullness. Open our hearts to embrace all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Create in us the yearning for worship and service. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.