Rev. Jeffrey Lee
Joy Lutheran Church
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
In 1938, my father’s father died. My dad was just 3 years old and he was the only child born to my grandparents. The years of the depression were tough for everyone, but can you imagine what it was like for a widowed woman and a 3-year-old?
These were the days before Social Security and many of the government programs that we know of today. My grandmother went to work at a bakery and she took in her mother to help watch my father. Now she was responsible for feeding three mouths and to see that their needs were met, but they were family. There was an extended family in the community as well. Neighbors helped when they could, supplying garden foods and sharing clothes that their children had outgrown. The baker would send the unsold day old baked goods home with her to help feed the family.
When I was 5 years old, my fathers mother passed away of colon cancer. I don’t remember her very well, but I remember a woman full of kindness. Though she was ill, she never complained. I remember helping her from the day bed she had in the dining room to the kitchen when we visited her toward the end of her life. When she was gone, my family moved into that same house. The people of the community told me about what a wonderful woman she was and her neighbors became a part of my own extended family. These were people who understood community and they served in many and various ways.
This is Jamaa. Jamaa is Swahili for family. On Sept. 11, Joy Lutheran church is going to be showing the film “Road to Jamaa,” put out by World Vision. Africa is facing several challenges that are leaving children with out parents. The community is impoverished and in need of resources to meet their needs.
We have the opportunity to help them in their need. Please join us for this Jamaa event on Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m.