In my time of fear and isolation I found great comfort in the stories told by, and the communities formed by disabled people. Now that we are all traversing the land usually reserved for people with disabilities my hope is that these voices can be a comfort and a light to guide the way for the general public.
Disability Theology acknowledges that vulnerability is complex. Some are vulnerable because the world is broken. But everyone is in some way vulnerable, and this is not a bad thing.
Everybody finds fulfillment in using the unique gifts that God has given her or him. All people find value in meaningful paid or volunteer work that serves their community.
Are we deliberate in our own lives to welcome someone with a disability to our table? Are we careful to recognize that person by their name, who they are, rather than their disability?
Too often we fail to listen by forcing others into shallow cultural molds of what is socially acceptable. Instead, we must follow Christ’s example in welcoming those who are on the margins of society into the centre of community life.
At face value, Jesus was engaged in the supernatural and people were being healed. Having worked with people with disabilities for two decades and now working with people in extreme poverty in under-resourced countries, I have been blessed to have a new lens through which to see this story. These people healed by Jesus had no hope. Their poverty and disability, in his day, relegated them to begging outside the city. Being healed enabled them to be known again in the general population. Healing brought them back to community.
No man, woman or child is an island, and we come to know faith through a community. It is this same community that welcomes us, by faith, through baptism.