The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, January 10, 2023, was written by Lori Hatcher of South Carolina
1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 3 You shall each revere your mother and father, and you shall keep my sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. 4 Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves: I am the Lord your God. 5 When you offer a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, offer it in such a way that it is acceptable in your behalf. 6 It shall be eaten on the same day you offer it, or on the next day; and anything left over until the third day shall be consumed in fire. 7 If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination; it will not be acceptable. 8 All who eat it shall be subject to punishment, because they have profaned what is holy to the Lord; and any such person shall be cut off from the people. 9 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.
11 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another.
12 And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord. 13 You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14 You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. 15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.
Joshua 1:3-9 NRSV
WILLING TO LEARN
Until several people who are visually impaired joined our church, I had never given Leviticus 19:14 much thought. But when these people joined our fellowship, they suggested ways to make our church more accessible. They helped us realize that while we had never intentionally put an object in a blind person’s path, some of our usual ways could cause difficulties for our members who are visually impaired. Thankfully, our friends have patiently coached us as we have learned how to assist them while still respecting their independence.
One member, named Thom told me, “Be my eyes, not my brain.” With this in mind, I learned to describe choices as we move through the buffet line instead of making decisions for him. I now include a description on my social media posts instead of only a picture. And I ask others how they would like to help during church events instead of assuming they can’t participate. Every member is significant in the body of Christ. God provides guidance to help us learn from one another as we worship and serve God together.
As long-time members of a church, it is often challenging to comprehend how some might find our treasured traditions as hinderances. Church language like, narthex, chancel, lectern, or sacristy are not terms used in common speech. While they are familiar and comfortable for us, they do provide barriers for others to feel fully included. It might seem easy to simply call a narthex a lobby, a chancel the stage, or a lectern a podium. Yet, conflict arises when we want others to conform and accept what we view as normal. Lori’s reflection challenges us to consider if we are truly ready to make changes needed for new people to feel welcome and included. As we continue to pursue our 2023 theme: CW23, let us pray for God to bring to our attention areas of our personal and corporate life that might be “stumbling blocks.”
Dear Lord, help us to learn from one another as we join together to serve and worship you. Amen.
-- Lori Hatcher