Happy Elevated Friday! Today we celebrate a story of inclusion that truly embodies the work the Lord has set out for us to do in our lives. 21-year-old David Bloch has autism and is mostly non-verbal. In addition, he spends very little time outside due to a rare immunodeficiency disorder. These challenges have meant that David does not really have any friends in his hometown in Florida. Recently, when watching a TV show, he asked his first ever question to his mother, “Would someone like me?” Kerry, David’s mom, said, “I was flabbergasted…I left the room because I had to cry. I didn’t want David to think I was upset.” After regaining herself, she told David there were “thousands of people” out there who would like him. She made a Twitter post about it and sent it out to her couple hundred followers (mostly other moms of autistic children). The response was overwhelming. The post was shared widely and messages of love and friendship flooded in from “firefighters, police departments, sports stars, and even basketball players from his favorite sports team.” Since the responses, Kerry says that her son is “a changed boy.” He also is insisting on replying to every single message “so that none of his new friends feel left out.” Kerry said of the entire situation,” I think he understands what it feels like to be left out so he wants to include everybody and just tell everybody he loves them.”
Inclusion is as simple as it sounds: Inviting or welcoming those who would not normally be invited or welcomed. Jesus stunned the world by living an inclusive life, regularly associating with the poor, the scorned, the sick, and the despised. He even formed his closest friends, the Twelve Disciples, from these types of groups! Jesus used his life, and death, to show not only the true meaning of love but also of inclusion. Jesus did not want to see a Heaven of only perfect people; he created a way to include all of us—broken, scorned, sick, and sinful as we were—because he loved us. Jesus could not love us without first including us into his Kingdom. That is why the Bible says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We cannot love others as Jesus loves us until we include them in our congregations and communities. Today and everyday, go out of your way to include others in your world. Whether it be inviting someone new to your work lunch, doing something on the weekend with someone new, or inviting someone to come to church with you—be an includer and see what God can do from there.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28 ESV