I have seen that shape before
And now I find it troubles me.
Those hands held in just that way.
But I can’t place the memory. …
Jesus names his present and future vulnerability to pain in this verse and empowers his friends to claim their own limitations, and to use them as the basis for trust. I know how Jesus feels, in terms of having a broken body. I have spastic cerebral palsy: this neurological condition means that my muscles are always tense, or spastic, and that I experience palsy, or continuous tremors in all my limbs. …
“Then he turned to his host. ‘When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,’ he said, ‘“don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.’“ (Luke 14:13-14, NLT)
The parable of the banquet is an inside-look into the heart of God and God’s future kingdom. Including persons with disabilities is not to be a “last thought” or a “token nod.” People with disabilities are to be at the forefront of our consideration. God’s Kingdom is upside-down to the kingdom of the world. Those who are fast and strong, move to the back. Those who are weak and move slowly, to the front. The first shall be last, and the last – first.
Father God, help us to know how and where we are to invite those with disabilities to be present at our ‘tables’. May we never become complacent that while even if we are in the ‘business’ of providing supports, we can too easily assume or overlook the presence of those with disabilities.
The Lenten season serves as a powerful reminder that no matter how much I endure in this life, Jesus’ sacrifice was much greater. It is humbling to recognize that my challenges do not qualify me for a monopoly on suffering. I am comforted and grateful for the fact that Jesus suffered more and yet overcame. …
“In that coming day,” says the LORD, “I will gather together those who are lame, those who have been exiles, and those whom I have filled with grief. Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble… Those who are weak will survive as a remnant; those who were exiles will become a strong nation. Then I, the LORD, will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever.” (Micah 4:5-7, NLT)
Further to God going into the remote places to seek and gather those who are marginalized, God Himself will be their God. Tables will be turned on who are “powerful” and “strong. Those perceived as strong in this world will have their control slip away. Those who God gathers from the margins will become a strong nation.
Help us see what is true strength and power; not built on selfishness, personal gain, or human striving, but built upon compassion, gentleness, and sacrifice. May we act as citizens of this coming Kingdom, where the “exiles,” those perceived as weak and vulnerable, find their places of strength and honour.
The biggest challenge for people with exceptional needs in relationship with others who may or may not have exceptional needs is often a lack of opportunity for reciprocity and responsibility. For example, for many years, I attended churches where little was expected of me. Everyone over-praised the fact that I showed up. …
“For I will bring them from the north and from the distant corners of the earth. I will not forget the blind and lame, the expectant mothers and women in labor. A great company will return!“ (Jeremiah 31:8, NLT)
God brings people who are marginalized into the centre of His community. Just as with the lost sheep, God Himself goes to the distant lands to find those the world has deemed ‘least of these’. Joining God in His mission means making space at the centre of our communities for those God has sought out.
Lord, we follow your example as the Great Shepherd who sought us out. May we open a space of welcome in the centre of our communities for those who are deemed weak and vulnerable. May everyone we encounter be met with hospitality, grace, and mercy. May each find the place that they have longed for – a place to belong.
Putting people into categories goes right back to the Bible, as in the New Testament the early church had conflict between the Jews and the Gentiles and the church could not agree on how to achieve unity. It is clear from the Old Testament that God intended all along that people love Him and live at peace with God and others. …