‘Christ of the Wheelchair’

“Christ of the Wheelchair” by Derek Yoder “Christ of the Wheelchair” by Derek Yoder

When you encounter someone with intellectual or developmental disabilities, do you recognize the image of God?

“Christ of the Wheelchair” is a prayer for myself, my community and the church. It emerged from the recognition that the church seldom considers the people in my community when it contemplates the Imago Dei (image of God). Nevertheless, in my community, I meet Jesus every day.

“Christ of the Wheelchair” is a prayer that each of us will know the voice telling us that we are beloved children of God — the same voice that came to Jesus at his baptism and transfiguration.

It is a prayer that we will learn to welcome strangers, knowing that we may in fact be welcoming our Lord.

It is a prayer that the gifts the Holy Spirit gives will be received by the church — each person able to give and receive ministry and blessing.

It is a prayer that we will learn to live within God’s time, moving at a speed dictated by what love requires, not what society demands.

In your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

Derek Yoder is pastor at Pleasant View in Harrisonburg, Va., an organization that supports people with intellectual disabilities in living out their goals for meaningful work, relationships and spiritual development. Pleasant View is a conference-endorsed ministry of Virginia Mennonite Conference. He worships with Shenandoah Valley Faith & Light and Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg. He designed this icon as part of his master of divinity capstone project at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. It was created digitally, with respect for the methods and prayerful devotion of the iconographic tradition.

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