Rejected Sermon Titles: Jesus and disabilities

Mark 2:1-22

Psalm 103:6-14

There is a certain amount of mourning that goes on when you have a child with disabilities. Immediately you start to try to figure out “what went wrong” which is code for who to blame. Most people start with themselves. When I found out Westley had autism, I worried about my two week trip to Israel while I in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. My mom pointed out that genes are formulated way before that.

My husband talked about his own worries “You know I”m neurotic, and I have ADD” for that matter people in my family have ADD too, and I didn’t eat most foods for most of my life because the textures bothered me, but sure it’s solely your fault that our child has autism.

I think in all societies there is a tendency to try to blame someone for disabilities and the imperfections. We try to find the sin that caused  the sin. It is here that we can start to understand that it was more shocking  for Jesus to forgive the paraplegic man than it was to see a bodily healing.

Eventually I have come to conclude that no human body is perfect. Not one of us has a body that works perfectly. We all have things that are different. And we are all sinners, we all are imperfect in that way too.

What causes this forgiveness and healing is the communal faith. The parapalegic faith, and his four friends. His friends who haul him up onto the roof, dig a hole in the grass and thatch and lower him down through the roof. Perhaps the lowering through the roof was less amazing than the fact that probably the friends had to touch this crippled man in order to get him to Jesus.

I wonder what that moment was like. I wonder if Jesus saw them trying to get through out of the corner of his eye, or if suddenly a man just appeared out of the sky, like an angel.

Like Jesus lowering himself to human level.

Like a miracle of community.

Then Jesus says because of all of their faith, not one, not another but all including the paraplegic man, he is forgiven…and then healed. Per usual in the Bible faith is used to describe the beliefs and actions of faith (as opposed to belief which is used in ref. to the individual). Not all of them had the same faith or beliefs, all of them had different bodies and skills, but together they formulated the faith for forgiveness and healing.

That is what we practice here in church. We pray for one another when our bodies don’t work well, when we sin, we work on forgiveness together. This church is a communal thing, because that is how we see Jesus.

Author: katyandtheword

Pastor Katy has enjoyed ministry at New Covenant since 2010, where the church has solidified its community focus. Prior to that she studied both Theology and Christian Formation at Princeton Theological Seminary. She also served as an Assistant Chaplain at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital and as the Christian Educational Coordinator at Bethany Presbyterian at Bloomfield, NJ. She is an writer and is published in Enfleshed, Sermonsuite, Presbyterian's today and Outlook. She writes prayers, liturgy, poems and public theology and is pursuing her doctorate in ministry in Creative Write and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She enjoys working within and connecting to the community, is known to laugh a lot during service, and tells as many stories as possible. Pastor Katy loves reading Science Fiction and Fantasy, theater, arts and crafts, music, playing with children and sunshine, and continues to try to be as (w)holistically Christian as possible. "Publisher after publisher turned down A Wrinkle in Time," L'Engle wrote, "because it deals overtly with the problem of evil, and it was too difficult for children, and was it a children's or an adult's book, anyhow?" The next year it won the prestigious John Newbery Medal. Tolkien states in the foreword to The Lord of the Rings that he disliked allegories and that the story was not one.[66] Instead he preferred what he termed "applicability", the freedom of the reader to interpret the work in the light of his or her own life and times.

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