I read something not long ago about the church. This particular article focused on families that have children with disabilities. Being a special education teacher, and a vocal advocate for those with disabilities, these kinds of articles always catch my attention.
I have heard over and over again from parents who have children on the autism spectrum, about how they want to go to church. They want to worship with fellow believers. They love singing both praise music as well as old, familiar hymns. They want to quiet their souls so they can hear a word from God. The thing is, they don’t always feel welcomed when they cross over the threshold of the church building.
Oh, it is not always the words that say, “You’re not welcome”. Sometimes it is the stares. Sometimes it shows itself as impatience with or fear of someone who looks or acts differently. Sometimes it isn’t intentional. Sometimes people just don’t know what to do, how to act, or what to say…..so they don’t do anything.
And with that, the door slams shut on a vast mission field.
Autism. Intellectual Disability. Learning Differences. Anxiety or Depression. Emotional Issues. A different physical appearance. ADD/ADHD. Health Impaired. Chronic medical issues. Sometimes the disability is obvious, but often times it is not………..until it is.
As followers of Christ, He calls us to love our neighbors…whether they are literally next door, down the street, on the job, at school…..or at church on Sunday morning.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
This Sunday open your eyes and look around your church. See people.
You never know……you might be the one to make a difference in someone’s life.
The world is desperate for those who are willing step out of their comfort zones.