Call to Worship
Leader: Lord, give us hearts to see, spirits to welcome, and a love of Christ to share with all.
All: Teach us how to better open our hearts to others.
Leader: Hospitality is when someone feels at home in our presence.
All: May we take opportunities to show love and care.
Leader: Making space for grace in its various forms welcomes others.
All: We welcome all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
You, O God, are a light who shines in darkness. Each of us have faced darkness at times, have stumbled, and have been insensitive to your blessings. We pray that our spiritual senses and our hearts better recognize grace-filled moments and opportunities to be in relationship with not only you, but with others so they too can experience the warmth and spirit of your presence. On this day and the days to come, help us to welcome persons who are blind or have vision loss. Help us to be more sensitive so we can better welcome them in Christ’s name. May our faith community better support them with our attentiveness, our care, our support, and recognize their gifts among us. We pray this in the name of the One who helped us to sense the variety of your creation, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Scripture Passages (Blind-related)
Deuteronomy 27:18 (“Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.” Then all the people shall say amen.)
Matthew 20:29-34 (Jesus heals two blind men)
John 9:1-12 (the man born blind)
Acts 9:1-19 (Saul/Paul’s temporary blindness, also Galatians 6:11)
Scripture Passages (general)
Romans 12:4-5 (belonging together in Christ)
1 Corinthians 12:12-30 (many gifts, one body)
Remove the scales from our eyes (symbolism related to Paul’s blindness). A United Methodist pastor from the Southeastern Jurisdiction had a Deaf daughter. As an itinerant preacher, elders are appointed at the discernment of their bishop, moving from church to church. For many elders, their families come with them, like the pastor and his Deaf daughter. What some people may see as pity, yet others see the gift of removing the scales from most parishioners’ eyes by the need to remember and welcome all people, not just those who are like us.
Myopia is typically what is seen right in front of us. In the ophthalmology field, it means near sightedness. What is seen are things close by, but not at a distance. As a faith community we strive to welcome and love all who come through our doors. But we are also to extend this hospitality to the community in which we serve. Do blind people know they are welcome here? Have we been in ministry with persons with vision loss? In the spirit of Blind Equality Achievement Month, I encourage us to research how we might partner with community organizations (search by state here).
Fanny J. Cosby was a life-long Methodist who is known for writing hymns. In fact, she has written over 8,000 hymns. I’m sure you are familiar with some of them, like Blessed Assurance. (Here is an article to pick & choose what you wish to highlight).
Etiquette – Share what COURTESY means from the National Federation of the Blind.
Go forth in peace, remembering to welcome the blind, recognize the gifts of everyone including persons with vision loss, and most of all, share the love of Christ wherever you go so they will know you are his disciple. Amen.
— Created by Rev. Leo Yates Jr., Baltimore-Washington Conference Coordinator of Accessibility & Inclusion, 2021