You don’t have to have been a Christian for long to know that God thinks differently from us on a number of issues.
I was once asked, ‘Why does God have so many rules? Look at the Law of Moses. It’s full of rules.’
That is true, but it’s not because God likes rules, it’s because we need them – or at least the Israelites did.
By now you should know that we live our lives on a sliding scale: Licence (which means do your own thing) – Law (which means a sense of obligation to God) – Grace (which means because of Christ’s love revealed to us that we live in close relationship with God).
The Israelites were a rag-tag and rebellious lot who had been degraded by slavery in Egypt for over 400 years. They needed a law in order to understand that God had expectations of how they should live, and how they should treat both him and one another.
And if you were taking it in when the Old Testament lesson was read this morning, you would have noticed that God’s law was based around how the commonwealth of Israel should function, and a lot of it was how we should treat people who for one reason or another were less powerful than ourselves.
In the Epistle, Paul tells us that God said to him, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power* is made perfect in weakness.’
In the Gospel we saw Jesus saying the blind man was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.
All these things tell us something about disabilities.
Now, Kirsten is here this morning, and she and Lorene are going to have a brief conversation in order to give her an opportunity to tell us something of her disabilities and how they affect her. Perhaps we can think about both what I have said about God’s attitude towards disabilities, and what Kirsten has to say; after all, she is the expert.
Interview with Kirsten conducted by Lorene:
Thank you, Kirsten for approaching us and offering to speak to us today. We appreciate you taking this step of faith.
- Why do you want to tell us about your disabilities?
So people get more knowledge about me. So that they understand me and don’t take me the wrong way. For example, if I say I do not feel well, don’t think that I’m doing it for attention, but ask me and I will explain.
- What are your disabilities? Can you tell us something about them?
I have Williams Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.
Williams Syndrome (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_syndrome)
Cerebral Palsy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebral_palsy)
- How do you feel about God because of your disabilities?
God is amazing. He relaxes me and calms me down if I get upset. I don’t feel any bitterness towards God. I just trust him because he knows best.
- I imagine that sometimes people don’t know how to relate to you. How do you want people to treat you?
When people look at me differently it hurts me. I just want to be treated normally. Because actually, I am normal.
- How do you manage your daily life?
I live in a flat with my flatmates. They all have needs. I have problems with showering, cutting food up, walking long distances, space issues (sometimes I might stand too close or too far from you), and too many others to name.
- Do you experience discrimination?
Yes, especially in public places like supermarkets.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for making each of us unique, created in every vast facet of your image.
Thank you for all of the things we can learn from each other, our similarities and our differences.
Allow us to see the talents in everyone around us, especially when we are with others whose behaviours we don’t understand or diagnoses which make us apprehensive.
Help us to move beyond stereotypes and preconceived notions to nurture the true spirit among us.
Provide us with the resources needed to discover how we can each give back to you and our community, in our own creative and extraordinary ways.
Readings for today:
- Leviticus 19: 1 – 4, 9 – 14
- 2 Corinthians 12: 1 – 10
- John 9: 1 – 5