Sunday, March 13, 2011

Step to The Front of the Line

We who are in Christian faith communities believe every human being is precious in God’s eyes because He made us in His image.

We believe our worth will never be diminished, no matter what other factors come and go.

We believe that people with disabilities and other challenges are as valuable to God as those of us whose challenges are less visible.

We nod fervently when we read that the Bible says God chooses to use people who are weak, for His glory. (1 Corinthians 12)

From early childhood, we’re taught to sing,
“Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me....”

We cheerfully quote what Jesus said:
“Whatever you’ve done for the least of these, you’ve done for Me.”(Matthew 24)

So why...I ask you...Why-oh-why-oh-why do we so often not act that way?

Within my lifetime,
I've been delighted to see enormous improvements in how communities
accept and welcome people with all kinds of visible challenges.

I could give you a long list of agencies within my own city,
government-funded and otherwise,
who energetically,
work for the inclusion and benefit of people with disabilities.
I can’t tell you how deeply grateful I am for these agencies’ work.
What a difference they make for people with special needs
and for those who love them!

But it grieves my heart just as much
that there are still so few churches
who actively welcome people with disabilities.

We, who by the most basic statements of our faith,
declare that we value those who are weak,
often act like they have no worth at all.

We ought to be at the front of the line,
leading the way,
raising the bar,
setting the example.

What twists a knife in my gut is that,
we’re usually at the back.

And, oh --
we’re not just compliantly following along as someone else shows the way.
We’re often as-far-back-as-we-can-be,
dragged along with our heels dug in as-deep-as-we-can-dig-‘em.

Some of us even have even thumped ourselves down on the path,
refusing to move at all,
and making every effort to slow down anyone else who might like to move forward.

At my city’s local amusement park,
large and threatening signs prohibit queue-jumping.

the Church is in a different kind of line.

In this line, we’re invited,
even urged,
to march up to the front of the line.

Yes, we have been late to do this,
but the good news is that it’s not too late.

Let’s stand up for what we say we believe,
ask God to help us fix the attitudes we need to fix,
and pull our heels out of the sand.

Let’s march right up to the front of the line
and start leading the way.
-- Reenie

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