Monday, May 21, 2012

Messy Monday - A Place to Belong

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.
Then little children were brought to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed.  Matthew 19:13-14 AMP
Last week I attended a workshop called "A Place to Belong - Supporting People with Disabilities to be included within our Church Communities." There is a part of me that questions why there has to be a workshop regarding this. That we, as Christians, actually need to be taught to include ALL people in Church. This is the place where we should be welcomed no matter what. No matter if we have a disability. No matter if we are homeless, beaten, hurting - messy! If you look at the people Christ associated with during his 3 year ministry they weren't perfect. They weren't the people filling the pews every Sunday. They weren't the people that tithed regularly every week. They were the people that "we" (yes I include myself in here) turn our noses at. That we put within an arm's reach.

Jesus called all of us to him.  I love the story in Matthew where the disciples didn't want the children near Jesus.  They wanted Him to minister to the "adults."  The people who took time out of their busy lives to hear and see Jesus.  But Jesus didn't just come for them - those who would sit still every Sunday and listen to Him.  He came for those who can't sit still every week.  Those who talk during the sermon.  Those who make us uncomfortable.  He didn't come because it appeared we were all perfect.  He came because we are all imperfect.

Yet, we still think we are perfect.  We hinder those who make us uncomfortable from worshiping with us.  We segregate them.  We put them in spaces that supposedly make it easier for us and their families to worship, but we really ignore the bigger picture.  We don't make them a part of our community.  We believe they  don't belong and make sure they don't belong.  We say we want God's community to look like a rainbow.  But the rainbow we think of is a perfect hemisphere with perfect colours .  God's community doesn't look like this.  God's community is full of imperfections.  But despite these imperfections, He makes us beautiful. 

We need to create an environment that includes everybody because that is what Jesus did.  He included everyone: adults, children, sinners, saints.  He loved all not because they were perfect but because they were imperfect.  He loved them for who they were and their potential.  When we don't include ALL into our church bodies, we are telling people they don't have potential and need to fit into our picture perfect puzzle. 

What is your church doing to create a place for all to belong?

I'm linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today at Finding Heaven.


Andrea M said...

I know what you mean. I was really hesitant to tell certain people about Ty's birth defect because I knew it would make them uncomfortable. As it was, most people didn't want to acknowledge there was a problem. I kept hearing stuff like "Oh, he'll be fine." It also amazed me how people totally ignored us after we found out the amnio results showed no chromosomal defect. Like suddenly his birth defect was non-existent, so we didn't need any support. (I'm not bitter - not at all. haha!)

Now the doctor has told us his muscle tone is low and after doing some research we found out that it could be related to the grey area on his brain that the ultrasound revealed. That could mean all manner of things, but a biggie would be delays in his physical development. So are these same people going to ignore us/him and hope it just "goes away" like his defect did? That just breaks my heart.

By the way, I love that you are such a fantastic advocate for not just your kids, but all kiddos with specialized needs. You inspire me.

~Rain``` said...

Love this post! My sister has OCD and she is also cognitively impaired. Generally speaking, church isn't really a place that she truly feels welcomed. SHE is much more forgiving that others and kind of accepts what she experiences as status quo. But as an outside observer, I see how others treat her and it saddens me.

One day, my husband and I will have to take on her care. And I really want her to belong in a circle of believers. I really do!

Yes, it is sad that we have to have seminars about such things!

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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