Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quasimodo, Pro-Life and Disabilities

Remember Quasimodo? He's only a character in a book named for him (Hunchback of Notre Dame). We can learn from the fictional Quasimodo. Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame, was born with severe disabilities including a wart that covered one eye and a severely hunched back (sort of like a hunched over camel). Victor Hugo describes him as "giant who had been broken in pieces and ill soddered together."

Whoever Quasimodo's fictional mother was, she left him at Notre Dame Cathedral where he was found on "Quasimodo Sunday" - thus his name. He lives his life wandering around mostly in the darkness, hiding in the shadows of the great cathedral. His job is to ring the cathedral bells. Even his job damages him causing him to be profoundly deaf. Quasimodo thought himself disgusting and so did people who saw him thus he hid in the shadows.

Because of Sarah Palin's son Trig, people affected by disability are front and center in the news. The church of Jesus Christ as a whole and A Restoration Church in particular need to seize this moment. Never before on such a national and even world-wide stage has the subject of disability been so visible. This is an opportunity to speak truth into darkness about the value of life - every life, even a life like Quasimodo. Life is not valuable because of outward physical beauty. Life is not valuable even because of inner character and strength.

The truth is that we are all broken and marred by sin! In God's eyes (except for the prism of Jesus) we are uglier than Quasimodo. It is only because Jesus makes the terrible trade of His righteous life for all our ugly sin that we have hope of restoration!

Jesus came - literally "putting on our skin" (John 1:14). The ancient prophet Isaiah describes Jesus in graphically uncomplementary terms: "There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away ... " (Isaiah 53:2-3, The Message)
[Note: Isaiah may have been speaking of Jesus on the cross. He could also mean that Jesus was just not a handsome dude - that he was just like us!]

When Jesus came, He made it very plain that He didn't come for those who didn't think they needed Him - for the proud and arrogant. O, He can change proud and arrogant hearts, too - but the focus of Jesus' life was on the Quasimodos he met. That's the picture of Him we see in the Gospels. It takes a kind of "coming to the end of ourselves" to be able to accept with true gratitude God's gift of amazing grace! John Newton (who knew what being an ugly sinner is all about) wrote, "Amazing grace ... that saved a wretch like me ... " Jesus came for wretches and Quasimodos!

Now, here's the kicker: What in the world is the "church" thinking when we don't also embrace the wretches and Quasimodos who cross our path?! They are just like us - in desperate need of God's amazing grace!

What in the world is the church thinking when we don't seize this moment and celebrate God's amazing grace for ALL?! It is definitely a PRO-LIFE moment nationally and internationally!

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