Community and Disability In Light of Easter
by Rev. Justin Hancock
Hello dear friends. I know it’s been a little while since Stephen and I have talked to you through Julian 360. Turns out that spring for ministers is super busy! I would just like to take a few moments to share some reflections on community in the context of disability in light of Easter.
Last Sunday I began to think about what it looks like to frame disability as a situation of possibility rather than limitations. I am particularly intrigued by this in light of the resurrection story found in the gospel of John, where Jesus appears to the disciples in a locked room and asks Thomas to put his hands in his side and feel the nail marks in his hands. That’s a situation where the marks of disability create faith and hope. What does it look like if those with diverse embodiments in this world are given an opportunity to view their unique embodiments not as obstacles to change, but as drivers and creators of change? This is why we must create spaces for worship, liturgy, and leadership in our churches that are built expecting persons with disabilities to play an upfront role. We are never going to allow disability to be a force for change if we don’t know what it looks like or sounds like in our church leadership. In the same way, persons with disabilities have got to come together to support and be allies to one another.
Julian 360 is seeking to create a network of disabled persons in a wide range of interest fields, to meet and find solutions for common problems faced by the wider disabled community. Before we as people with disabilities can speak with one voice, we have got to allow the multitude of voices we possess to come together in harmony and create the song of resurrection for our people and not just our individual problems. I would invite you in this season of Easter to talk with us and consider how you might add to the story of disability.
Always remember my friends, it was a disabled Christ who appeared in a locked room full of doubt and despair, and through the marks of his disability opened the door to faith and belief once again.