This is a guest post by a disabled Christian and church member. The writer has asked to remain anonymous. Views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of this blog.
Imagine not being able to make your body move how you want; imagine making uncontrollable noises when everyone else is silent; imagine not being able to join in the worship because, whilst your heart is full of adoration, you can’t make a noise when you need to; imagine the stares of children, the awkward cold shoulders and the lack of fellowship because no one knows what to say to you: this is my life as a disabled Christian and church member.
No one means to be unkind, but no one knows what to do. We are paralysed. Nothing changes, year after year and everyone gets tired of the problem, especially those of us affected by disability and those who care for us.
It gets harder to be with the body that is the church when your own body doesn’t work, and when your carers are exhausted by just surviving the week. You can’t get to meetings, you know they’re happening without you but it’s just less stressful for everyone if you stay away. People say they miss you, but they seem not to mind too much. They get along fine without you.
So you’re isolated, you lack fellowship and don’t truly belong anywhere. You exist in limbo, always hopeful that someone will come alongside but not surprised that they don’t.
There are offers of help, but my situation is lifelong and that’s quite a commitment. I’m not going to be over this, there’s no end in sight and that’s not exciting or glamorous. I’m sorry there will be no miracle cure, just tedious care needs and demands.
But I am made in God’s image. I am created by him, loved by him, saved through faith in Christ, called into the body to use my gifts in service, longing for real fellowship.
So lockdown has changed everything for me and my family. We have been blessed by consistent teaching as we have been able to share in every Sunday service as it is live streamed. We have been able to be involved in the small group meeting mid week for the first time ever – what a privilege! I attended my first business meeting ever. I have met new people, contributed to discussions, prayed with others, shared requests for prayer, grown in joy in the Lord, seen others blessed by him and understood more about fellowship.
Please, please, please don’t just pack up the equipment when the pandemic is over. Don’t switch off the streaming. Don’t push me and the many in my position back into loneliness and isolation. Keep connected.
May God be pleased to build his church for his glory. Amen.