This vision of what can be is something I long for. It’s as if I’m nostalgic for what will be, and not what was. These days, diversity in nation, tribe, people, and language are things that keep us apart.
…we meet countless parents and family members who are battle-worn from advocating for equality and support for their children with disabilities. These parents can be fierce, because they need to be! They are forced to advocate/argue/fight against systems and societal forces that actively discriminate against their children. Too often, they face these same barriers and oppressive attitudes in churches, synagogues, and faith communities that claim to care for all God's children.
While the incarnation is a unique event in Christian theology, the experience of embodiment is not. I have found the image of the Word made flesh to be a powerful paradigm for seeing the experience of my minimally verbal children, both in their relationships with me and their expression of faith.
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.
Ultimately, though, the way forward [...] will be navigated in relationship with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities themselves. As Whole Community makes clear, it is people with lived experience who are experts on the best way forward. "The most powerful and effective act that people without disabilities can take is to yield to the voice of people with disabilities"
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.
... people with disabilities are often marginalized as well. Long before Christian Horizons articulated our vision that ‘people who experience disabilities belong to communities in which their God-given gifts are valued and respected’, Jesus helped others see our crucial need to belong. He makes it possible for people to belong.
A kingdom vision is one without hunger, thirst, sickness, loneliness or imprisonment. Rather than, wasting time trying to determine who among us belongs to what category of "the least of these", can we work together and with God toward that vision instead?
What would it look like if we welcomed one another as we are, and took the time to learn how to love each other well?
“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (John 9:39-41 NIV)