During this global pandemic we invite friends to share their perspectives with us. Today we welcome Andrea Foster, a disability educator/advocate and mother. You can follow her at andreafoster.ca
As restrictions are being lifted and you plan for being together in person once again,
please think of us.
When churches are allowed to congregate in larger groups and it seems things are feeling like, the good ol days,
please look for us.
When the time comes to celebrate together in the “House of the Lord,” with a full church building at last, but some of us aren’t there,
please wonder about us.
Who are us you ask?
They are families like mine, whose children are medically fragile and intellectually delayed.
They are individuals who cannot just, “work through the anxiety” and get themselves to church, for different reasons.
They are people with various, visible or invisible, diagnoses, which some prefer to keep private.
They are all image-bearers of God.
Affected by disability, by social anxiety, by medical fragility, by attitudinal barriers and by ableism.
And they are sometimes forgotten.
For many of us, staying home, feeling locked down and living in a state of ambiguity is something we’re used to. However, we’ve never had a time when everyone else in the world felt a similar sting.
During this time of quarantine, technology has been a godsend for everyone who usually attends church and especially for families like mine, who wish they could have taken part in more of church life during pre-covid times.
For now, the playing field has become more level to some degree. Technology has been connecting many of us for years, well before the current pandemic and in my home, it’s been life changing, empowering and freedom-giving.
There are many people like us.
Perhaps you’ve noticed some of us, as your Sunday morning and midweek worship experiences gained a larger following and you were surprised and blessed during such, “unprecedented times,” that interest in church and in God, grew. You’ve been stirred by such growth and encouraged by the beauty from ashes God we all serve and love.
My guess is there are more of us than you ever dreamed. An unreached people group of sorts who are now being reached and connected with in new and innovative ways. You’ve stepped up to a difficult task and the fruit is beginning to show already. Blossoms are beautiful but the sweetness of their fruit is yet to be fully experienced. It’s exciting. To see what will happen next as God continues to go before, beside and behind us as the Body of Christ, even amidst the present suffering is reassuring that we are all on the right track. It’s why we follow Jesus. To lead others to Him as we trust Him to lead us first.
As you plan for the re-opening stage, with all the talk of the, “new normal,” please, be patient with us. Some of us may be nervous or unsettled because going back to church isn’t going to be as easy for some of us.
Until we are ready or able, many of us will continue to tune in to church services from our homes, BE the Church in our families and neighbourhoods and do our best to be part of our local church, from a distance, even as many of you are gathering in person once again.
Please, continue to pray for us. Prayer is what holds us up when we find it difficult to stand on our own. Many of us will keep praying for you too.
And if and when, we finally return, please embrace us, walk alongside us and help us to serve as well.
And for those of us who can’t or don’t return, or those who have never been present before, please remember us. And miss us enough to go out and find us and invite us in so that the Lord’s house may be full (Luke 14).