Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Luke 5: 22
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.
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.
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’.”