Even if the statistics were less significant, accessibility should still be a priority considering that Jesus taught us to go out of our way to accommodate 1, rather than 99 sheep. Many churches do not make decisions which demonstrate that even one sheep matters.
When such assumptions concerning the connection between faith and chronic illness or disability do not pan out over the long term, they may lead some people with disabilities and their families to a fork in their spiritual journeys. Option one being the belief that “God is a real jerk.” Option two being the belief that “people with disabilities must be horrible people to deserve this much ‘extra punishment’.”
One of the reasons I am especially grateful to writers and producers of The Chosen series is for their faithful portrayals of various Bible characters with different disabilities throughout the series, and for their insight into how some of Jesus’ disciples might have very well been people with disabilities. In so doing they show that people with disabilities do not need to be cured in order to follow Jesus or to serve him well.
The Chosen pilot episode conveys the truth that the presence of wounds or a disability does not preclude gaining godly wisdom. Rejection from a religious establishment or faith community does not preclude you from becoming close with Jesus. In fact, such hardships might just put you in the right place at the right time for a much more intimate encounter with the Lord.
The first week of Advent and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a wonderful week to reflect on the hope of Christ, our saviour who was here, is here with us now through his Holy Spirit, and who will someday, hopefully soon, be with us in the flesh again.
He didn’t seem to me to think that Moses’s challenges or limitations were worth focusing on. Instead, he emphasized their relationship. Since Aaron did not focus on his older brother’s challenges or limitations, he caused me to wonder, why should I?
Learn more about an upcoming workshop with Jolene Philo and read Chantal's review of her latest book with Gary Chapman, Sharing Love Abundantly with Special Needs Families!
This pandemic may soon be over, but for almost 20% of Canadians who experience some form of disability, the practice of self isolation and physical distancing will not necessarily end. As businesses, churches and community spaces begin to reopen, remember Isaiah 57:14 – 15.
It has been my responsibility and privilege to hold out hope with people who have struggled to hold it on their own. Offering light to one another must not overshadow the real pain that people experience, but small gestures and words of encouragement remind us that grief will not have the last word.
“Draw the circle wide. Draw it wider still. Let this be our song. No one sits alone. Sitting side-by-side, draw the circle wide.”