Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bring on the Paralympics

The Paralympics are upon us – a wonderful reminder of the value of the lives of people who may be disabled in one aspect but are marvellously able in others. (For those who are PC minded, I am sorry about the word "disabled" but at least people know what it means and I find the word "alternatively abled" ludicrous.)

Celebrating the value of disabled people is something that is at the core of the Christian message. Christ made it clear that he did not come for the fit and healthy but for those who had needs – in whatever aspect of their life that might be. It's a message that is reinforced at St Paul's when visitors may be surprised to find the service being led by myself, as one of its lay ministers, from a wheelchair.

When I joined St Pauls, the then vicar, Brian Robertson, asked me what I could offer to St Paul's and then asked: "have you ever thought of becoming a lay reader (a lay minister). When I suggested that I had dismissed the idea as I was in a wheelchair, his response was that if this was from God, the problems could be overcome. I have now served St Paul's as a lay reader for eight years.

Society has often been very slow to recognise the value of people with disabilities – as was shown in the recent BBC film "The Best of Men." And, despite the words of Jesus, the church has often been slow to do that, too. But, praise God, when society and the church actually do realise the immense value of those with disabilities. So it's wonderful, now, to be celebrating in the Paralympics, the skills of those who have overcome immense problems.

I am sure that we will all be looking forward to watching their athleticism.