Disability Glorified, A Prayer

Ableism kills,

Jesus you were not ableist.

What kind of diagnoses did your twelve disciples have?

Who limped, who was “ugly”

Who had voices, who had ADD or Autism or OCD?

….

As you healed and were asked,

What sin was committed that this person is blind?

The people asked, and, then our Savior said

None. Neither he nor his parents!

And then Jesus, you touched lepers,

those who were lame or blind or bled,

the poor, the oddly shaped and the dirty,

the ones who humans avoided even looking at–

because in our hearts of hearts,

we are so scared of disabilities that we avoid eye contact

afraid of catching it,

embarassed that we still

even today,

do not know how to interact

with people who exist differently than us.

—-

In some ways Jesus’s resurrection

might be the scariest thing of all.

Jesus you were young and healthy,

and died anyway, and the disciples

(of course) fled death.

Except for the women,

who probably had the most intimate

relationship with death and dead bodies.

…..

Jesus the Good News is not just that you returned

but you returned with holes in your arms and legs–

who were still wholly you, but unchanged.

You were still perfect, but your body was still yours!

What hope for those with disabilities.

It leads us to ask, are there wheelchairs and mobility aides in heaven?

Is it a place where your body is not weighty and there is no more pain,

but you are still you?

Are those with Dyslexia, ADD, OCD, Bipolar, Down Syndrome, Autism and more are–

Beloved and understood!

….

Jesus, I am so thankful that you got it,

that you get it,

that ableism kills

That you do not promise wealth and health!

That you do not need our bodies to be perfect for us to enter heaven–

You know Jesus I am not yet 40 and relatively healthy,

and I would definitely fail that test.

….

Jesus, I am thankful that as humans

make decisions that are more and more ableist

and fall more and more in the vein of a death cult–

(ignoring all those who aren’t fit or rich or whatever)

that I am hanging on

with every breath I take

that Jesus is not ableist.

….

And, maybe Thomas wasn’t either.

And as sure as the holes remained

in Jesus sacred body–

Holes that I am invited to touch

whenever I doubt or feel alone or scared of my own imperfections

I can breathe in

Jesus wasn’t ableist

and breathe out

And Jesus affirms all people.

..

Thank God for the Risen

holy, hole-y body!

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

If you want to support my work, Please Contribute to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. It is a degree as a Public Theologian!

Image: https://image.shutterstock.com/image-vector/hands-jesus-christ-isolated-hand-260nw-186438794.jpg

Feb 27 Man Born Blind

Psalm 27:1-4

John 9:1-41

Reflection by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

Call to Worship

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life, whom shall I fear?

One thing I seek, to live in the house of the Lord forever.

Come, let us seek the Lord together.

Prayer of Confession: God I confess that I worry that my body is not perfect, or I am not perfect, because I have sinned. Too often I buy into the myth of health and wealth. I think that you reward those who do not sin with perfection. Yet you remind us, again, and again, that isn’t how grace works. You remind us that every single body works differently, and we are beloved, and forgiven no matter what. Glorify us exactly as we are we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Remind us that your forgiveness is unconditional, tell us the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Day: God, remind us that you bless our very mundane bodies with the very simple dirt and mud of the earth, knowing that our bodies are limited, we are also blessed. Bless us today we pray. Amen.

With Children: Talk about the Olympics and the reality about the amazingness and very real limits of our bodies and how each of our bodies are so very different and yet so very beautiful and how each and every one of us are somehow made in the image of God, including those of us with disabilities, discuss how Jesus had holes in his arms and ankles after the crucifixion. Discourage ableism. Glorify all bodies.

Hymns: Here I am Lord, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Amazing Grace,

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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