By Rev. Tracey Leslie
Scripture: John 13: 12-17, 31-35
We are currently in the season of Easter, moving toward Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. We are the Church together (as the song goes); but what is the Church? More precisely, who is the Church? Who are we? The pictures at the front of our sanctuary this season reflect “church” at Trinity and a United Methodist Church in Ukraine. As diverse as church around our community and our globe can be, we share a common identity. We are Christian. Wherever we are, however we look, we are Christian.
By Rev. Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Acts 8: 26-40
I’m going to start this morning by saying some words and asking you to shout back to me what comes to mind as the word’s opposite. Alright? So, here we go:
By Pastor Suzanne Clemenz
Scripture: Acts 9: 1-20
Many years ago, when I was adjunct faculty in English at Ivy Tech Community College, I had a class of about twenty students of varying ages, and several of them were high school students, homeschooled, who were eligible to take college courses. One of the high school students was a young man with significant disabilities. I don’t remember his specific condition, but he was in a wheelchair, had minimal use of his arms and hands, and he could speak, but he spoke slowly and it was difficult to understand what he said. I was teaching English composition, which requires a lot of writing, and because of his disability he had to dictate all of his compositions, which took an extraordinary amount of time and effort for him. The students did a lot of peer group work in that class, and I noticed that his group members, at the beginning of the semester, didn’t really give him the time of day. He was the last person they expected to be a strong student in the class. He was ignored, until about halfway through the semester when I called on him to read one of his brilliant essays to the class. As they watched his perseverance and listened to his gifted literary voice, I saw the sea of students literally transform in front of me. Their jaws dropped, and I could see the reshaping of their minds as they moved this young man from a mental image of “disabled” or “impaired” to a new category of “gifted genius.” After that, this young man became the most popular student in the class. The students all warmed to him, and they sought him out for conversation, and the classroom became this warm, vibrant, spirited place, and it was the most beautiful thing to behold. It was a remarkable experience of transformation and acceptance, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything else quite like it.
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