Thursday, April 2, 2020
The school district had adopted a mandated policy that special education students who could function in normal classrooms, would be mainstreamed. Cheryl had down syndrome, and she was bashful. She had some classes tailored just to her in special education, but some of her classes were with all the other kids.
Because of her looks and her naturally withdrawn personality, she soon became the victim of taunting and outright bullying. When teachers would catch it happening, they would call out and punish the perpetrators, but they could never catch all the bullying all the time.
This went on for awhile, but then Cheryl found her voice. One day when Cheryl was being taunted by a girl, Cheryl asked her why he was doing what he was doing. When she didn’t answer, Cheryl said, “I know I look funny to you. I know it is harder for me to talk and think like you. But I also know that Jesus loves me just like Jesus loves you. Because of Jesus, we are more alike than different.” The girl started to walk away, but something was moved deep within, and the girl asked if she could walk with her.
Things began to change in that school. What started as a small crossing of the boundaries became a way of life for many of those students. Cheryl served as an officer of her student body in high school. She was the mascot one year. When she graduated, the entire student body stood and cheered for her. It all started with a statement: “Because of Jesus, we are more alike than different.”
So this suffering servant in Isaiah’s prophecy is not the best looking. This suffering servant has borne our sorrows and suffered our human living. But this suffering servant has come to make us whole. That, my friends, is the gift of solidarity. One who lives our life, carries our wounds, dies our death, and offers hope!
Remind us, Lord, that we are more alike than different when we have you. Amen.