Friday, January 25, 2008

A Parable of Disability

This story may or may not be true, but it's a pretty cool parable of life.
Passing by the field, you might think the two horses grazing there were pretty much like any other two horses in a field. But, if you stop to really notice, you might learn that the larger of the two horses is blind. His owner has chosen to let him live his last days safely in the pasture where he is comfortable. That is pretty awesome. If you look and listen carefully, you will hear the steady tinkle of a bell. You might discover from close observation that the other horse has a small bell attached to her halter. If you stand awhile observing the horses in the field, you might notice that the blind horse follows his friend by the sound of her bell and that she is very careful to be sure he is following. The blind horse follows the lead of the bell whether around the pasture or back to the shelter of the barn at night.
What a beautiful picture of what life in God's economy looks like! God doesn't do throw-aways. He even invites the poor, the blind, the lame and the crippled to His party. (Luke 14:13 & 21)
Like the owner of the blind horse, God places value on life even when there is disability. Like the blind horse's owner, God makes provision for those who struggle. Luke 14 more than suggests that those who are poor, crippled, lame, blind, etc. are singled out for special honor in God's Kingdom.
At a Restoration Church we want to be the little horse with the bell. We want to lovingly protect and care for those who may struggle with poverty, disability or other needs.
Jesus said, "Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the city and invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind." (Luke 14:21, NLT) There's no passivity here - there's action: Go! Go quickly! Make it happen NOW - go and find those who have needs and lead them to the shelter of Jesus' love.
Those are the people we want to find and bring to a Restoration Church.
The truth is that we are all broken. We all need the loving touch of God's restoration. There is a hidden world of isolated people - lonely people, people isolated by shame or disability or just the endless challenges of care-giving - these are the people who need to "hear our bell." The world is filled with lonely hearts broken in body and spirit who need to know that they matter and especially that they matter to God and His people. Those are the people - the hearts - that we want to find and love at a Restoration Church for Jesus' sake!
We know this is a great challenge. We hardly know how to start except to "GO, find, seek" ! We all "need fixed" (as we say in Pittsburgh)! Only God can fix the broken places and make us stronger where we are broken.
God brings us together to love Him and to love each other as we demonstrate to the watching world that God is all about restoration! That's exactly why a Restoration Church is committed to restoring lives through the Gospel - and to offering love, hope, help, grace and restored dignity through faith in Jesus Christ to the lonely and disenfranchised of the South Hills of Pittsburgh and beyond!
Our bell may not be very loud but we are ringing it in faithful obedience to the Lord who calls us all to care and love and GO! We are committed to GOing into the streets and alleys of the South Hills of Pittsburgh seeking broken, lonely people who needs God's love.

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