West Ohio churches are invited to celebrate Disability Awareness Sunday on September 15 (or another Sunday designated by the church) by preaching, teaching, praying, and leading with the message of ministry with and leadership by persons with disabilities. For more resources visit https://umcdmc.org/ and https://www.westohioumc.org/pwd or contact Rebecca Hug, rhug [at] wocumc.org.
Rev. Zach Holler has provided this scriptural message and prayer for congregational use.
To my brothers and sisters in the churches who are answering or are considering Gods call to inclusive ministry,
Blessings to you for this exciting journey! Let us learn together from the story of David and Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9 after becoming king of Israel, David promised to show kindness to the house of Jonathan, son of Saul. In the opening verse David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1) Ziba, a servant from Saul’s household, was brought to him and David again asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” (2 Samuel 9:3)
Ziba informed David that there remains one son of Johnathan, Mephibosheth, who is “lame in both feet”. David has him brought in and the king says to Mephibosheth, “Don’t be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” (2 Samuel 9:7) David’s disclosure of his intentions to fulfill his promise to Jonathan preceded his discovery of Mephibosheth’s disability. So David was clearly not showing him special treatment as a result of his disability, but rather honoring his duty to show kindness to Jonathans family. But was it his only duty? David specifically intends to show “God’s kindness”, and in doing that is not only David’s kindness, but God’s kindness which rests in the core of his being. So, David was not acting simply because he must but because that was part of his nature and desire. As you prayerfully pursue God’s call to include people effected by disabilities in worship, weather it is a sensory break room or the creation of a gentle worship service, remember that you are doing this because we are all God’s children and have the duty and desire to share with one another in God’s community and family. May the Holy Spirit guide you and inspire you.
Dear Lord, we thank you for calling us all to be your children and that we can sit at your table with confidence that you love us. I pray that you please be present with all of us who are answering your call to serve in your churches as one inclusive body and family. Prayer that everyone can find belonging. Please bring glory to yourself as you inspire us by your Spirit in Jesus name. Amen.