If you would have walked through the gym of First Presbyterian Church Jackson this past Friday night, February 7th, you may have seen a unique sight that is not often present in this church’s gym. Various people and colors whirled around the gym; sounds of laughter and screaming filled the enclosed space. Wheelchairs rolled, children ran, basketballs bounced, and hula hoops spun–this was a night that will be remembered by all who were blessed to be there. If you would have walked from the gym into Miller Hall, you experienced a completely different atmosphere. Over 350 people filled this banquet hall, enjoying conversation and a delicious steak dinner catered by Penn’s Restaurant and Catering. A quiet murmur filled this room as parents and caregivers enjoyed a night of spiritual encouragement and a restful dinner. This assortment of adults came from all different backgrounds, various homes, and even different states–but were united under similar experiences of suffering and longing for a time of true comfort.
For the third time, Joni and Friends Jackson hosted their biennial “Luke 14 Dinner” this Friday night at First Presbyterian Church Jackson. The Mission of Joni and Friends Jackson is to serve the community at large affected by disability by connecting them to the local church. This dinner offered a night of relaxation and spiritual encouragement through a semi-formal dinner and a guest speaker to families touched by disability. Volunteers from all over Jackson came to the church to provide fun respite care for the children or adults with disabilities and their siblings.
This year, Greg Lucas came from West Virginia to be the keynote speaker. He is a father of a 21 year old son with severe autism and is also the author of the inspiring book, “Wrestling with an Angel: A Story of Love, Disability, and the Lessons of Grace.” Lucas shared with the group a passage from 2 Samuel 9 on David showing Christ’s love and grace to crippled Mephibosheth. Many tears were shed as family members, parents, and caregivers of people with disabilities were filled with and reminded of the comforting truths of the gospel through Lucas’ message. Joni and Friends Jackson board member, Scott Coleman, also shared his testimony of God’s grace for his life with the group. Coleman was in a bike accident when he was 17 years old and has since then written a book about his faith called, “Better When Broken.”
This event was a wonderful picture of the what true community should look like—all God’s broken people fellowshipping and playing together despite all different races, backgrounds, and disabilities. It was a night of heartwarming sounds, awe inducing sights, and beautiful people that you will not want to miss next time around.
(check another report on the night at http://specialneedsparenting.net/shadow-suffering-presence-god/)
“When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you…Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”