“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A spritual disconnect

Rec'd this link from a student of mine, Geoff. http://www.ragamuffinsoul.com/?p=4757
The link depicts a man holding up his adult son with cerebral palsy while they are worshipping together. Check it out...you will have to scroll down the page a bit.

After the picture and the brief story, there are many comments. Listen to a few of them...
  • what an awesome example of what it really is all about.
  • beautiful… Jesus hands and feet
  • THIS this is worship.
  • I’m humbled.
  • Your post really touched my heart. May we all take lessons from Matt and Jefferson
  • True worship sacrifice! Amazing! Thanks for hitting us over the head again.
  • Wow. That is beautiful.
  • speechless…
  • Amazing… Grace… Compassion… Authenticity…
  • Unreal man. Completely amazing.
  • absolutely beautiful.
  • i think the entire Church can learn true authenticity from this picture.
  • … tears i my eyes …
  • This is the best thing i’ve ever seen. this is the best thing I’ve ever seen. this is the best…
  • Sometimes God sends people like that along for us to wake us up
  • Wow! That is precious! THAT is what it’s all about! Sacrifice - Worship - Praise - Hope! Yes. And so the question is almost.Was he real?Was he an angel?
There is a disconnect here for me as I see the picture and read the comments. Yes it is wonderful that a father would love his son and assist him to participate in worship. But there are thousands of people who have no "father" to assist them in worship. The comments almost feel like posing sometimes because if people really felt it was so wonderful, why wouldn't they do it as well? The comments should read, "I think the entire Church can learn true authenticity from this picture and I am going to find a disabled person that I can help too." or "This is the best thing I have ever seen and I am going to be a part of it by helping a disabled person." or "THIS this is worship and I want to be a part of facilitating worship for someone else." Is it only if you have a son with a disability that you facilitate a worship experience for someone? Would you ever facilitate worship for someone with a disability if you didn't have that person as a son or daughter?

If we are "Real" we will not just recognize the beauty of the situation, we will be a part of the beauty. If I tell you that your service to the poor is beautiful but never help with my giving or my time, I am a poser. If I am "Real" I will do something.

Another side of me that is disconnected is that a man assists his son who is disabled at at church and this is amazing. Why is it amazing rather than commonplace? It would be commonplace if it is happening all the time. Is it amazing that a father is helping his son? No, fathers help their sons all the time. I am confident that the father himself would say it is no big deal and in many ways, he is right.

Well, then...
Is it amazing because it is too infrequently observed at a church?
It is infrequent that disabled people are worshipping at church in community numbers.
Is it amazing because a disabled man's worship is being facilitated by someone else?
It is infrequent that someone assists another in worship.
Is it amazing because one man is having his worship "interrupted" in order to facilitate the worship of another?
It is infrequent that a disabled person's worship is a priority for someone else such that
worship becomes something other than an uninterruptable individual experience.
Is it amazing because worship becomes transformed into something that it typically cannot be because we have been taught that worship is something that I do by myself and if someone for whatever reason imposes himself on me (through noise, or activity, or functional disability, or whatever) he should be removed so that I can worship?
It is amazing because it is worship in a different form. It is two men who are achieving an
apparently nontraditional form of worship which entails one loving, being patient with, and
facilitating the worship of another. However, in that service, the one being served also
transforms the worship of the servant.

Probably to most people at church, the presence of a person with disability "imposing" themselves upon them, "interrupting" their worship is a cause for complaint. "How am I supposed to worship when so and so makes me have to hold him up so he can sing and dance along with everyone else?" "How am I supposed to worship in song when so and so sings and mostly is just making a loud, off tune noise?" "How am I supposed to worship during the sermon when so and so will not sit quietly and listen?" "How am I supposed to worship when so and so bothers me continuously with their inappropriate social skills?" I mean people complain if the music is not the right genre for goodness sake. You see these things are linked. It is supposedly so beautiful to see a father be imposed upon by his son and DELIGHT in that and us it as a means of service to his son. It is supposedly so beautiful that a son would not be ashamed of his need for assistance but would DELIGHT in the assistance he needs in order to participate in worship.

Lets not be posers, Christian. If service is beautiful when I see it in someone else, it is also beautiful for me. If "interrupted" worship is beautiful for someone else, because it displays love in a kinda way it is supposed to be, then I should be more open to interruption. Worship needs to adapt to the impositions of imperfect people who are socially more imperfect than I due to their disabilities. My level of imperfection is acceptable, theirs causes me to reject them.

Lets be truly "Real," Christian, and do the thing we celebrate without excuses. Lets make the beautiful, the amazing acts of love commonplace such that when we see them, we still appreciate them but we are not amazed by them because they are not the rarities that they presently are. If it is beautiful to be loving and patient with people, lets make that the mundane within the Church.

McNair

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just had an AH- HAH moment this morning as I read your blog. There have been things I have read in Jeff's past blogs that I didnt totally 100% agree with. And again, this AM, I felt myself getting angry. So I checked my heart to figure out why. Yes, I am one of those people that do not like being distracted during service. Is that my issue? Yes! I am one of those people that will cheer someone else who is helping, but will I? No! After checking my heart, I totally see Jeff's point, however, I still felt uneasy deep down. Why? It's because my sinful side does not want to be "uncomfortable", "put-out", "inconvenienced", and many other sinful reactions.

WOW, what a humbling thought process. Which then brought me to how Jesus interacted with others. He stated the truth. And even though we know in our heart it is true, our heads do not want to accept it. Which showed me that I would have been one of those in the crowd crying CRUCIFY HIM! Why? Because he was making me "uncomfortable"! WOW!! Major eye opener. How ugly am I?

When I have heard messages pointing at us saying WE put Jesus on the cross, I never understood how the crowd could do that. I just got the point! Will it be easy for me to apply what I just learned? No, but I am one step closer I guess.

Thanks for opening my eyes and humbling my heart further. Continue in Gods Work!

theanonymousperson!! said...

great article. Good point. People are not to be treated nicely just because it is a special occasion. Heck some people are not even kind to people on a special occasion! Keep up the good work.
I always wonder if those people who don't want to be distracted during service ever thought they could be disabled one day themselves and would they like to be treated like that? Would they always want to be squirreled away in a room, forgotten until their death just because they are not physically-able people.

theanonymousperson!! said...

great article. Good point. People are not to be treated nicely just because it is a special occasion. Heck some people are not even kind to people on a special occasion! Keep up the good work.
I always wonder if those people who don't want to be distracted during service ever thought they could be disabled one day themselves and would they like to be treated like that? Would they always want to be squirreled away in a room, forgotten until their death just because they are not physically-able people.

Anonymous said...

Reading this entry made me think of the experiences I've had in my own church. We are blessed to have a young man who is physically disabled and is in a wheelchair. Our worship services are very expressive with people running the aisles, dancing in the alter area, singing out loud etc. Often the father (who is older) will push is son in his wheelchair around the church. When the church sees this they can't help but get excited and you can almost see the energy in the church rise. It's so precious to see this young man's face as he's pushed around the church-it's almost as if he lights up with joy. Every time I see this I can't help but be reminded that we are all the same before the LORD-broken, but by His mercy we are made whole!