Pure Religion

June 23, 2014
by Isabel Allison

James 1:27 – 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. (NIV)

On the wall above my computer is a large, framed picture that I embroidered. Its title is "White Pine", but I call it "The Widow".

Centred in the near end of a narrow lane, a great, elderly, grayish-green pine tree stands alone, brittle boughs exposed to uncertain elements.

Back of the pine, a far-curving blue-gray cloud evidences changing environmental pressures.

Beneath the sky, across a vast meadow, a couple of leafy trees stroll hand-in-hand, seemingly unconcerned that the widow tree and a near-by, short-cut stump (her deceased beloved) are confined in the lane bound on both sides by posts and wire that maintain both restraining and sustaining bygones, and times yet to come.

Toward the far hills, the crop of golden grain glowing in the dimming sunlight suggests an inevitable harvest time.

Moreover, on the far-distant horizon, rest pointed, purple heights, poignant reminders of eternal times and places — now, and yet to be.

Still, out in front, the few late-fading, yellow flowers beckon us, who will, to enter the narrow, straight path and walk right up to commune with the lonely, living widow-pine who stands, satisfied within her place in the "narrow road that leads to life" (Matthew 7:14).

The words of the biblical James re-echo in our consciousness: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after… widows in their distress" (James 1:22,27).

Now, in our obedience, as we arrive to visit with the widow in the narrow road, let us not be insensitive to the fact that some of the widow's distress can result from a forgetfulness on our part as visitors that she chooses also to look after her guests.

Heartily, she waves, calling, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). And, while lightly floating on the breeze, the widow's boughs whisper, as they enfold us to her bosom, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). "Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:23b)

Yes, come and visit with the lonely, living elderly ones in the name of the Lord. Encourage and welcome their mutual sharing with you as you enter and share with them.

Prayer: Dear Lord, remind us to visit the lonely elderly, and please help us to remember that they still need to share with us as we share with them the satisfying assurance that all we who have faith in You will enter Your eternal home to live together in Your love. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Isabel Allison <allisonisabel@mymts.net>
Roland, Manitoba, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good reminder Isabel. Thanks for sharing.


    Thank you so much for your words. Blessings.


    Very poetic and powerful.
    Thank you.


    Thank you for thinking of we widows and explaining your picture..quite poignant.

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