Barrier-free

Mark 9:30-37

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again." But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me."

 

I set up barriers at the door...tables and a bench. A bit of an obstacle course--which made it physically hard to enter the space. And then, there were these messages taped along the way...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stood around awkwardly until enough people arrive. (Justin made this call. "Boss, there is enough. Let's start.") (Whose the boss? Tony Danza? Riiiiiight). At this point, I wanted to rescue everyone. It was terribly uncomfortable. And of course there are new folks--there are always new folks at Humble Walk. Thank God it was time to begin worship.

We we invited everyone to stand around the altar table--in a clumpy circle. We welcomed, invoked and we sang a hymn. We read the Gospel...Mark 9: 30-37) (out of the Spark Storybook).

I asked the kids what it was like to enter today..."awkward, funny, scary, hard, weird, strange." And then invited the adults to chime in. "I thought maybe church had been cancelled and I didn't get memo." "I thought perhaps that first sign...'If you can read this, good. Then you can come in.' was a sad attempt at a welcome." "I was stalled at the message about having God figured out. Because I don't. And I don't want to be around people who think they do." "I had to actually break the rules in order to enter."

I asked the kids to rearrange the space to make it welcoming (kids lead and boss adults around). Finally, everyone got their own chair. We talked about how Jesus put kids in the center that day because they were the ones with the least amount of power/most vulnerable. Then we talked about how Jesus was right in the middle of the mess (holding the most vulnerable). It's this encounter with one another where we experience God coming near. Jesus comes to us in the wine and the bread--at the communion table where there are no barriers. We are all welcome at this feast.

At this point, it seemed fitting to kick everyone out and invite them to re-enter the space--barrier free. We went right into communion.

The prayers of the people were tactile. We made self portraits and then held them up---giving thanks for each individual who is welcomed by God and so is able to welcome others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this brave church.