A Moment for Mission
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” — Matthew 10:40, NRSVU
As United Methodists, “We recognize that God made all creation and saw that it was good. As a diverse people of God who bring special gifts and evidence of God’s grace to the unity of the Church and to society, we are called to be faithful to the example of Jesus’ ministry to [and with] all persons. Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the Church, the community, and the world.” (¶140) (1) We believe that the church is not complete until everyone, with and without disabilities, is able to attend, belong, and participate fully.
The Book of Discipline (¶265) (1) states “Disability Awareness Sunday (2) shall be observed annually on a date to be determined by the annual conference. Disability Awareness Sunday calls the Church to celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and calls the Church and society to full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community.”
About one out of four persons lives with a disability. (3) Any of us may acquire a disability at any time, especially as we get older. People with disabilities are less likely than people without disabilities to attend church regularly because of inaccessible buildings, lack of transportation, or being made to feel unwelcome. (4) Disability Awareness Sunday helps change attitudes, priorities, and practices.
Across The United Methodist Church, Disability Awareness Sunday is observed annually on a date determined by each conference. To learn more about ways to engage with Disability Awareness Sunday visit: https://www.r2hub.org/library/disability-awareness-sunday-faqs
Jesus said, "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me"
What do you think that might mean? One thought is that when we show love and kindness to others, we are also showing love and kindness to Jesus! And that's something very special.
I have this box with lots of different shapes in it. There's a circle, a square, a triangle, and more! Now, imagine if one of these shapes was different. Maybe it was bigger, or smaller, or a different color. Would it still be just as important as the others? Yes, of course it would!
What if it was a different shape or size and the opening to the box is too small? How might we rethink how to have all of the shapes together? We could create new openings. We could also move all of the shapes outside of the box that isn’t designed for all of the shapes. Well, just like these shapes, people come in all different shapes, sizes, and abilities. And just like the different shapes, everyone is still important and valuable in God's eyes.
Today is a day when our church celebrates the different abilities and gifts that people bring and we think about ways to make sure that everyone has a chance to be a part of this church community. It is also one of the ways that we show how much we love Jesus.
Welcoming God, help us to welcome you by welcoming all of your people. May our gifts be multiplied to create a place of belonging for all who seek you. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries (adapted): Fifth Sunday after Pentecost — Mighty God, you have poured down on us all manner of gifts and blessings; the ledger of our lives is so overwhelmed with your goodness that we struggle with how small our offerings to you seem in comparison. The gospel reminds us that not even the smallest act of mercy and compassion – a cup of cold water – will go unnoticed by you. Give us the wisdom to recognize those in need, the courage to respond to those who cry for justice, and the hearts to comfort those hurting and grieving. If we all were to offer a cup of cold water, the world would be flooded with compassion. We ask this in Christ, our rock, and our redeemer. Amen. (Matt 10:40-42)
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”(Matt 10:40)
Jesus speaks to the power of hospitality and welcome, and how our treatment of others reflects our treatment of him.
When we raise awareness about how to create broader access to the life of the church, we open a path of grace that celebrates the sacred worth of every child of God. We strengthen the body of Christ in our community with a spirit of radical welcome.
Celebrating the gifts and graces of people with disabilities, United Methodists observe Disability Awareness Sunday annually on a date determined by each annual conference. It calls for full inclusion of people with disabilities in the community. If the conference so directs, an offering may be received and the funds used by the conference to promote the creation of architectural and attitudinal accessibility in local churches.