August 21, 2020
We are all Disabled

by Rev. Beverly Markham, Associate Pastor
(the Lord said), “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I (Paul) will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.    2 Corinthians 12:9
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush. That makes this year the 30th anniversary of this landmark event and the important work to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities. Look here for information about the timeline and history of the ADA and to find out how the ADA National Network is celebrating throughout this year. Through the work of advocates like those who guided this act, people who were not able to participate fully in the lives of their communities, have been more able to do so for 30 years.

At APC, we lean on our Open Arms ministry to guide us all on how to be most welcoming and affirming of our members who have special needs. This ministry is almost as old as the ADA! Open Arms offers a Sunday school class for kids with special needs, a parent support group, Parent Nights Out, and occasional worship services designed specifically for families who have a member with special needs. This is all great stuff, but the deeper part of the work of this particular community at APC is to help us all recognize beauty in being dependent and the healing that comes with accepting our own vulnerabilities.

This pandemic is many things, and one thing that it can be is a great teacher. We can learn from this time that “we are all vulnerable, we are all disabled, we are all dependent.”[1]

This is a lesson we learn at times during our lives – in childhood, during surgeries, when we have a procedure and need a ride home, when we are old and can no longer do all the things we did before, but we seem to imagine that these moments of dependence are out of the ordinary. In fact, dependence on others is our norm. Our vulnerabilities are often the most beautiful and fragile parts of us. None of us is completely able. We are just really good at disguising our disabilities so that we appear strong and capable.

During this season, we are less able to function as we used to and we are more keenly aware of our need to be with the people we love: our families, our church community, our work community, our gym, our service groups, our friends, etc., etc., etc. And we are keenly aware of our responsibility to take care of one another. None of our personal abilities can win over this pandemic. We are all dependent on one another.

Strong and gentle Jesus, give us the strength to embrace our weaknesses, our disabilities, our vulnerabilities so that we find our strength in you. And then, make us strong in love, justice, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009