“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.
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The Work of the People has an extensive collection of videos by a number of notable authors, theologians, thinkers and artists. Notably, there are many video interview clips with Jean Vanier. Most of us are familiar with Vanier’s work, from his founding of L’Arche in 1964 to his continued work as a thinker today. One of the things that strikes me most profoundly about his thought is that, while he touches on themes that are powerfully related to disability, his insights are just as applicable to any of us who are human, who crave friendship and belonging. We all need each other, in our gifts and in our brokenness. The following video is no exception. Here Vanier draws inspiration from Luke 14:12-14, where Jesus instructs his dinner host,
When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.
Clicking on the following image will bring you to the video: