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Good morning to all. Sometimes God places angels in our lives and we barely notice. This young lady, whose name I will not mention, was and angel to her family and friends. Sometimes because we are different, society has a tendency to treat us differently. It is a blessing that God created us all and loves us in spire of what we look like. See message below:
When I woke up this morning, I thought about a young lady whose funeral was held recently. I am sure the reason she is on my mind is because of the joy and happiness she brought to so many during her short time with us. Too often we ignore or give very little attention to persons who do not look or act like us. What we must remember is that people who are physically challenged or who have special needs are just as important and lovable as we are. As I began to write this message, I didn’t feel totally comfortable using any term that represented this young lady’s disability or special needs, for her infectious smile and playful spirit would cause one to overlook her inability to walk or her lack of independence. What we must always remember is that regardless of our inadequacies or differences, we are still God’s children who are wonderfully and beautifully made. Let’s just say, she was a social butterfly who loved life, loved God, and her mom ensured that she lived a full life.
Some of you may remember this young lady and her mom who brought her to church on most Sundays. Her mom would bring her to church and roll her to the reserved area specifically for her and others in wheelchairs. She would sit there with a great big smile on her face as she leaned back in her wheelchair with excitement waiting for worship to begin. It was evident that this young lady had a relationship with God. During the entire worship service, she would sing along with the choir with effervescence. When the preacher was preaching, she even attempted to clap her hands and give God praises. This young lady was a beacon of light to all of us when she was in our presence, be it in worship or out in public. For me, this young lady’s presence would make you forget whatever little problem or trouble you brought to church. She was indeed a happy person who loved the Lord and did not hold back on showing it. Sadly, so many of us hardly noticed.
There were Sundays she would pull my head down to her and she would distinctly say, “I love you.” I in turn would tell her that I loved her and she thought that was the biggest joke of the day. Her laughter was infectious and we noticed it. She would not let her inabilities or special needs define who she was. Someone said it like this, “She blossomed in the presence of God Himself.”
When there is a special occasion, we have a tendency of overlooking or not identifying with those who may be disabled. In this particular case I wish to refer to Luke 14, where Jesus is having a meal with some prominent Pharisee. During the meal, Jesus instructed the host to be hospitable to all people, even those who could not pay him back with their hospitality. Jesus suggested he invite the poor, the disabled, the lame and the blind. Jesus then tells him, “He will be paid back at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:12-15}. Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.”
Read for yourself Luke 14: 12-5, for the point I wish to make is that the invitation is extended to all, including people who never get invited to parties: the poor, the lame, the sick, etc. People that we hardly noticed or gave attention to.
The host had every right to cancel the party because of the excuses some of the invitees made, but he invited all to join him for this special meal. What Jesus is doing in this metaphorical banquet is revealing that the invitation went out to the Jews. Some made excuses, but rather than cancel the banquet, Jesus extends grace to those who were not a part of the initial invitation. The Gentiles were not part of the initial invite, but the invitation is now being extended to all, Jew and Gentile. Just imagine this child being invited to the party and being treated with respect and dignity by all.
Here is the message, treat all people in a friendly and non-condescending manner, and we should feel free to reach out touch and show some Christian love. We barely knew this young lady, but she impacted our lives in a very special and loving way.
Once the pandemic is over and we return to some semblance of normalcy, persons such as this will be forgotten and not thought of again. Therefore, I wish to acknowledge who she was and how she was a blessing. Regardless of our limitations, let us also be a blessing to others.
Rest in peace my child!
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor