I watched a show the other day that was meant to bring tears to my eyes. In the middle of a church service, a man who suffered injuries from a war and could no longer walk was healed. He stood up, people cheered, and he walked right down the aisle.
In the past, I think I would have been cheering along with the parishioners.
Praise God! This man is healed!
Instead I found myself angry that we live in a society where we believe a man such as he needs healing to live a worthy life.
Jesus’ life is filled with a ministry of healing, so we know there is necessary healing to be done, but what if we read some of those stories another way?
What if the healing of the mute person (Mt 9:32-33) isn’t about curing a man’s inability to talk, but about curing the crowds’ inability to hear?
What if the healing of the paralytic (Mt 9:2-7) isn’t about curing a man’s inability to walk, but about curing his friends’ unwillingness to help?
This past year has shown us how easy it is to accommodate our neighbors with disabilities. Stores can deliver groceries (and, truly, anything at all). Companies can successfully allow people to work from home. Churches can hold meetings online and foster meaningful communities. Government can allow people to participate in democracy by voting from their kitchen table.
I suspect our friends with disabilities have been telling us these things for years, but because we didn’t need any of these accommodations ourselves, we weren’t listening.
What if we take what we have learned as a gift from Jesus, a healing of our community, and look at life through new eyes?
p.s. I know very little about advocacy for the disabled community, so if you have people you follow or organizations you trust, please leave a comment.