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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A new member of our group

This week at The Light and Power Company (our group that includes adults with various disabilities) we had a new attendee. He is a man, lets call him John, with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. John is largely non verbal, and doesn't move very much. I must tell you that I am delighted that through his father, John has decided to be a part of our group (I may be jumping the gun a bit as last week was his first week with us)! I introduced him to everyone as I typically do for anyone visiting, and asked him the question I typically ask visitors, "What do you like to do for fun?" I asked him and he didn't answer, however, his father told me that he enjoys music, so I was ready with a response for him. After introducing him, I instructed everyone to go over and introduce themselves to him and they did. John had his hand shook by perhaps 45 different people. I hope it wasn't too traumatic for him!

Over the past few days in thinking through John's presence in class, I am reminded about the story in Mark 2: 2-12 about the man lowered through the roof by his friends in order to meet Jesus, and I suppose to be healed. At least that is what I would think his friend's motivation was. Little did they know what the result of their assistance would be. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" So they were going for healing and what they got through THEIR faith was much better...forgiveness.

This passage puts a whole new light on the presence of my new friend with profound disabilities. What will God do in his life if I and those around him are faithful? Like the friends in the story, his father had the faith to bring him to church, and ultimately to bring him to our group. In many ways, we now have the responsibilty to bring him to God through our love and acceptance of him. I am also reminded of the verse in John 9:3-5, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But that the Glory of God might be seen in his life, we must work the works of him who sent me." So his presence provides the opportunity within our group and wherever we are with him to have the Glory of God seen in his life. What an amazing opportunity.

I will be honest in telling you that I don't know quite how the principles described in the two stories will be fleshed out in our interactions with John, however, you can believe me that I will be watching to see how they will be worked out. I anticipate seeing him each week, and in between should the opportunity arise, and look forward to seeing how God will act in his life and ours.

One final note. A member of our group and a longtime friend, Arthur Seale, grabbed John's father as he was pushing him out in his wheelchair. Arthur said something to the effect, "Your son is welcome and wanted here. He will never be too noisy, he will never do anything that would cause him to no longer be a part of this group." I didn't say anything, but inwardly (and probably outwardly) I was beaming. Arthur nailed it. This is the message we desperately want the church to give to parents and persons with disabilities.


1 comment:

Jeanette said...

I recently did a special needs lesson in our adult sunday school class. The two scriptures that you are referring to were both focal points. In the story of the man lowered through the roof by his friends, one of the big take aways was the fact that Jesus saw the man's spiritual needs first, He forgave the man's sins. Then he healed his body. The powerful part was that God saw the man before the disability. It was an amazing thing to see how that hit home with the class. I loved your post. You have an amazing opportunity to see God's work.