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"nothing about us without us "

Image by ewheeling via Flickr

The body of Christ is not whole without all its parts.  That also means it is not whole without Christ’s disciples who have disabilities.  Here is another sermon in my series on disability.

Missing Parts
A Sermon on 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
(With allusions to Luke 14:1-24)

I don’t think the congregation at Corinth intended it to happen, but some church members found themselves feeling unneeded, unimportant, and unwanted.  How did this happen?  Just like people in the world around them, the Corinthians were preoccupied with where they stood on the social ladder, the status ladder, and the authority ladder.  Who was strong, who was weak, and who was somewhere in the middle?

Some claimed that a special allegiance to Paul, or Apollos or Peter placed them on the upper rungs of the church.  Others asserted that their superior spiritual gifts placed them at the top of the ladder.  Now consider what this meant to those who didn’t have special connections and flashy gifts.

This state of affairs—division—was even apparent at the communion table, THE place where divisions are supposed to disappear.  In Corinth, the Lord’s Supper was celebrated along with a regular dinner.  Reflecting the Corinthian social ladder outside the church, wealthier church members enjoyed lavish meals before the poorer working class people even arrived.  Just like the first-class passengers on an airplane, the upper class church members enjoyed better food, and those who didn’t have such resources were put to shame.  Some were completely left out.  There wasn’t a place at the table for them.  They went home hungry.

With all this judging and comparing going on, no wonder some of the church members were labeled weak.  They may have even labeled themselves weak, second class, not valuable, not needed.

There’s a class of people in the modern world that all too often knows what it is to be labeled and left out.  In many ways the world tells people with disabilities that they are second class.  In a recent Presbyterian Outlook magazine, former PC(USA) General Assembly Moderator Marj Carpenter described the hostile responses she experienced when she was using a wheelchair and traveling frequently by air.  She wrote, “I found out that the average person on the street—and in the airport—simply does not care.  They only care about their schedules and their space. (more…)

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