Some people may wonder what it would mean to “celebrate” disability week, because they believe that disabilities are nothing to celebrate. However, we do have reason to celebrate the people in our congregations who live with disabilities. Here’s a brief summary of biblical teaching that applies to people with disabilities:
All people are created in the image of God; therefore, each person has intrinsic value not based on what she can do but on who she is.
“Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image . . . ” (Genesis 1:26)
Jesus’ body, the church, has many parts but is ONE; therefore, each member of Christ’s body (each person) is essential for a healthy church.
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. . . . those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 22)
All believers are called by God; therefore, each believer has a mission given by God to fulfill while here on earth.
“For we are what [God] has made us, created in Jesus Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (Ephesians 2:10)
All believers have spiritual gifts; therefore, each believer receives from God the gifts he needs to accomplish this mission.
“Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit . . . ” (1 Corinthians 12:4)
All believers are invited to participate in God’s work; therefore, every member of Christ’s body fulfills an essential and unique function in the body.
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good . . . ” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
In healthy churches, everybody belongs.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:8-9)
In healthy churches, everybody serves.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
May God bless your congregation with a warm and loving welcome to and with eager engagement of the people who live with disabilities among you and in your community.