According to this article on the Star Trubine website, Carol Race wanted to take her family to mass at St. Joseph’s where they had attended for 12 years. A Sheriff’s deputy waiting in her own driveway reminded her that if she took her 13-year-old son who experiences Autism to St. Joseph’s Church, she would be arrested. This is based on a restraining order taken out by the church to prevent her son’s attendance in church.
I have written about the parents role in asking for what a child needs to make church a welcoming environment here . In fact, there is a video of my son participating in friendship and worship time at our church in that post. However, it seems important to note that it takes willingness on the part of the church to make adaptations and accommodations to make it work too.
While contemplating that story I saw numerous bumper stickers stating “What Would Jesus Do”. That begs the question about which would be Jesus’ response getting the restraining order or finding some way to make it work. He answered that in Mark 10:13-16 (American Standard Version quoted below):
“13And they were bringing unto him little children, that he should touch them: and the disciples rebuked them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me; forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God. 15Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. 16And he took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.”
Pope Benedict demonstrated what I believe that Jesus would have done in that while tens of thousands of young people waited outside at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, NY he met with and blessed disabled children. See article on CNN website here. He said to them:
"Sometimes, it is challenging to find a reason for what appears only as a difficulty to be overcome or even pain to be endured," the pope told the children and their caregivers.
"God has blessed you with life and with differing talents and gifts. Through these, you are able to serve him and society in various ways."
I happened to watch part of Pope Benedict’s time with the children and observed how touched he was by them. He went through the lines touching their faces before speaking and literally broke free of his guides to touch several of them again on his way out of the event.
I plan to stray from my message to parents for the next few blog posts and address churches on what I believe the Lord would show us and how churches can reach out to families with special needs.
Until Next Time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
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