In honor of the 27th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a replay of this post about being invited to give a reflection at my church about the ADA is being republished.
So this week is certainly a different kind of post…..
For those who know me quite well, you know that although I am a rather spiritual person, I am very private about that part of my life.
This coming weekend, my church will “out” me on that, as they have ask me to co-present the homily (a reflection of the main reading from the Bible) in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this Sunday. Our church, All Saints in Syracuse, NY is also having its groundbreaking this weekend on an elevator in its new parish center to make it accessible for all. Last Fall over $500,000 was pledged in just three weeks for this project.
I bet you’re wondering how I managed to connect the ADA to anything in the Bible. So was I. .
I needed to figure out the connection between the most significant law passed for people with disabilities and the story of Jesus feeding a mob of people with five loaves of bread and two fishes with the ADA.
Even today when I hear this reading, I go back to those thoughts of amazement I had as a little girl, sitting in church and hearing about “The Five Loaves of Bread and Two Dried Fish.” I think, “Now really, how did he make that happen?” As a little girl, I would sit in church and try to visualize exactly how each one of those people got fed.
Eventually, my mind grew tired of trying to figure it out and I gave in to it just being one of those weird mysteries the nuns at my Catholic school always spoke about.
It was until well into adulthood that I realized the “mystery” of all these mysteries is the mind shift that occurs, a transformation of our own beliefs from what can’t be done to focusing on what’s possible.
Think about a situation in your own life. A circumstance that felt impossible, too hard, too challenging, and maybe too expensive. Did it feel like a huge barrier? Did you brood on it, keep letting it roll around in your mind? Perhaps even allowed it to keep you awake at night?
And then, one day out of what seems like the blue, the solution to your dilemma suddenly seems more reachable, more doable, and maybe within the stretch of your wallet. What happened? What changed?
Your mind. Your beliefs. Your willingness to be open to possibilities.
That, my friends, is a mind shift.
You begin to believe and put your energy into what can happen, rather than hopelessly face the limits presented by the situation.
This is what Jesus did with the loaves and fish…and so many other things. Rather than accept “No,” or “This can’t be done,” he said, “Well, let’s think about this differently. Let’s think about what we can give ALL people, rather than try to ration to a few.”
Jesus’ mysteries weren’t in some woo-woo magic as much as they were in teaching us that the magic is in us when we embrace all and reach for what’s possible.
Hard to believe, but in 1990, Congress displayed that it even had this sense of magic by finally legalizing for people of all abilities physical access, public accommodations, and fair employment. Twenty-five years ago this Sunday, our nation demonstrated that if we don’t begin embracing ALL, reaching for the possibilities, and making it happen, then we might as well be throng of people grappling over a couple of fish and loaves of bread.
It’s not a mystery; it’s the miracle of life.