I once read the quote “misplaced ideas of success” and as I look around I can see examples of this everywhere, but perhaps none more so than on Mothers Day. As carers of our future generations their successes often become our own. Along with it comes the judgements and the ideas of what each individual sees as success. Is it breastfeeding or just being able to feed your child at all? Is it being a stay at home parent or one who works? Is it straight As or a child getting to school on time? These are all constrained by our own ideals and the personalities of our children.
As a new Mum I had a misconception that I would simply be able to pop the baby down in the cot and they would go to sleep. My child does not seem to have read the manual on that one but she is happy and healthy and so my idea of success has changed.
Yesterday I was at conference looking at the accessibility of churches. Once again I saw examples of “misplaced ideas of success”. A church puts in a ramp and deem themselves accessible or not doing anything until the needs of the individuals arrive and become apparent. It is hard as a church to get accessibility right but as one of the delegates said “right now this is not a hot topic and therefore nothing will happen until it is”.
As a church we are called to be counter-cultural. Be more what we wish of society than society can offer and yet we often want to react rather than to be proactive or worse yet doing nothing at all.
As I came to church this Sunday I saw the barriers that I had to face in order to be there, in order to “survive the service”. There is nothing wrong with the church, the people are wonderful. They are welcoming and understanding that my child makes noise and runs up to be the first to get communion (or actually runs up because she wants to be with Daddy or showing off). They often rejoice in the noise but any barrier to a person of worship is stopping someone from encountering Jesus. For someone who has additional needs they face even more barriers, more steps along the journey. I pray that as a church, as community, a family that we focus less on offending, on saying nothing and more on breaking the barriers down to find new ways to ensure all can encounter Jesus.