The Voice of Disabled People need to be heard in the Church
Like so many of Jesus teachings this is a challenging passage to get our heads around for it is very strong uncompromising language. Jesus is strong and not always “lovely”. Commitment to the way of Jesus needs to be absolute and we need to be courageous in speaking the truth All people are precious and are known intimately and cared for by God. The challenge here is to recognise that even though we may not feel precious and have trouble accepting ourselves we are all of infinite worth to God. Equally challenging is to see others who are different as being as precious to God as we are.
Our primary allegiance is to be to Christ above all other relationships and commitments. This may mean following a path which others whom we love might not understand.
In our society, disability is spoken about as if it was a secret and not quite proper to talk about. This leads to awkward relationships between disabled and non-disabled. Disabled people often feel a sense of shame about their impairment which prevents people from offering their gifts in community. We challenge church communities to recognise and be open to the spiritual gifts that disabled people can bring as sisters and brothers in Christ. At times disabled people can be bullied into silence because other people do not want to hear because it can be awkward.
The church throughout its history as an institution is the keeper of secrets. The church can be warm and caring exterior while having deep struggles, origins of which are not understood even by those who are in middle of these struggles. The church can guard us against things we ought to know about. Often the church has disabled people on the side, at arms’ length. It is having the courage to confront these struggles that brings light and new life to all. The challenge is what is the difference between you as people- tell us about the church’s disability? What are the gifts of disabled people? Tell about who we are together, disabled and disabled, and don’t keep secrets.
The verses in today's gospel reading give hope to all people that every person is of immense worth to God no matter what we think and feel about ourselves or how others see us. Each person is of immense worth to God.
The challenge for church is show hospitality and value all who come to us particularly people who are often shunned by society. We are called to make God’s love real to each other by honouring each person and making them feel that they are of value and belong in the church.- Excerpt from The Disability Faith Community a Commentary Disability Perspective on Matthew 10:24-39