Psalm: 25
Old Testament: Deut 6:10-15
New Testament: Hebrews 1:1-11

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
and bring me* out of my distress.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins. (Psalm 25:16-18)

I’m definitely distracted today after the meeting with my Archdeacon. Basically, it seems the powers that be are confuzzled (understandably so) over what to do with access to the altar in any potential placement. I keep saying it’s not a huge problem, and I am fast approaching the point of not being polite about it anymore. Not quite over the edge but almost lol ;).

I know it’s somewhat dangerous putting this out in a public forum where my potential employers could read it, but something needs to be said.

Let me be very clear. I am very sympathetic to church architecture, history, and the concept of sacred space. I get that raised altars and steps signify approaching heaven and God’s glory. Some high altars are absolutely beautiful……but what about looking at it from the other side???

I also TOTALLY admit having a bias here (duh!), but isn’t the Incarnation about God coming down to us??? Not us ascending to Him??? Why should we be so afraid of changing or moving the holy furniture? An altar is still holy no matter where it stands….and call me crazy…..but I hold out the hope that congregations….the people of God are not shallow communities. πŸ˜€ ❀

I think if people *knew* they had a disabled person coming to minister to them, they would open to having an accessible altar….. I can definitely understand that there might be some resistance…..even some questions as to whether the chancel area and altar are "wasted" if they aren't used on a regular basis….these are good questions…….but NO ONE is having these conversations. So…. I guess I'm starting them here πŸ˜€

It is easy to say "the church is wrong…….boo to exclusion!!!"……but let's face it……up until the 1960s and beyond there was no "formal" participation by the disabled community in liturgical life…….Churches simply didn't have wheelchair accessibility on the agenda….and probably would not have even occurred to them to think of such things. The institution/Diocese is not the bad guy here .

I get that and I don't hold a grudge……really I don't :)…..but this is now 2011. More than that, the Christian Church–especially in North America–is going through another reformation…..a re-imagining of itself and what the role of the faithful is in a post-modern, post-internet age is…..and one of the things we *must* rethink what it means to be accessible to all…not just to people in wheelchairs.

The issue of accessibility is not only about justice, equal access, or even compassion…..it is about incorporating EVERYONE who is baptized into the community. I truly believe that if we frame it in *that* context, congregations would be much more open to change….to try something a little different……at least that is what I pray for. πŸ˜€

As the quote from Psalm 25 states….all I can do at this point is put my trust in God and work like hell to remember that the Church is not just bricks, mortar, and stairs….but a movement….a community of people that works together to preach the gospel …..and one that relies completely on God’s love, mercy, and grace in its life together. +