Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A 5-year-old with a broken foot in a wheelchair at DisneyWorld among caring people is a metaphor for grace.


Text: Ephesians 1:6,7b,8a

I want to think with you this morning about the grace of God.

The text is from Ephesians, the first chapter, verses 6, 7, and 8:

"Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear son. How great is the grace of God which he gave to us in such large measure."

I was treated some time ago to an amazing example of grace. My wife and I took most of our family to Disney World when the grandchildren were little. There were nine of us in the party, including three grandchildren, and we spent five days doing the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, and the new MGM Studio Tour. Let me tell you, when you have nine people living together, standing together in the hot sun trying to decide which ride to go on next, you need a lot of grace!

We left early in the morning, and flew to Orlando. On the previous evening, our grandson, five-year-old Robbie, had fallen over the dog and hurt his foot. His parents took him to the hospital where they x-rayed his foot, pronounced it OK, wrapped it in an Ace bandage, and told him to go enjoy Disney World.

We got to Florida the next day, arrived at the Magic Kingdom at about 4:00 p.m., and spent the next seven hours riding on Space Mountain and doing everything else you do there, with Robbie running around on his taped foot. We arrived back at the motel at midnight to find a call waiting for us. The hospital had called back and the message was relayed to us: They had looked at the x-ray again and had discovered that his foot was broken.

So, Robbie and his parents spent all the next morning at the hospital getting a cast put on his foot. We waited for them by swimming in the motel pool with the other two grandkids. Not exactly how we had expected to spend our time in Florida. When they got back about 1:00 p.m. we ate a quick lunch and went to Epcot. The first thing we did was to rent a wheelchair for Robbie, to avoid carrying him and to keep from tiring him out by walking. They had fitted his cast with a shoe and he could walk on it, but it was a lot easier on everyone to push him around in a wheel chair. It saved his energy, and extended the day. Even so, as we entered the park we thought; pushing him around in this thing for four days is going to be a drag.

Well, we were wrong! That wheel chair was the open sesame to an experience of grace that I have never seen before. The very first thing we did was to get in the line for Spaceship Earth, the ride inside the huge geodesic dome which is the symbol for EPCOT. But no sooner had we gotten in the line than a man with a walky-talky and a uniform and his name on a little tag came along and said, "There’s a wheelchair line inside if you want to go in there." So we went inside and, although we didn’t save any time, we were able to sit down inside instead of standing outside in the sun. Then they took us all through a back door and right onto the ride with scarcely any walking at all. We just looked at each other in amazement.

That sort of thing happened to us at most of the attractions. At the building called Motion which deals with transportation, we stood in the line outside. As soon as we got inside the building and started for the second line a man came up, took us immediately to a ramp where we had a 30-second walk right into the car instead of another 30-minute wait.

On Sunday, we got in the line for the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom. The last time we were there, we tried three times to get on this ride, but never could because of the tremendously long lines. As soon as we got in the line a man came along with a walky-talky and a uniform and a name tag and said, "The wheelchair line is around there." We went "around there" and immediately got onto a boat which was filled exclusively with wheelchair parties. Again, thirty seconds instead of thirty minutes.

Sunday night, we headed for Main Street to get a spot for the Light Parade. You had to be there an hour ahead of time if you wanted to be able to see this spectacular 9:00 p.m. show. I have never seen more than a sliver of it before over the heads of ten rows of people in front of me. Having to stand for an hour waiting and then for another half hour for the show did not thrill me. We picked ourselves a spot and settled in for a long standing-wait, but immediately a man in a uniform with a walky-talky and a name tag came along and said, "We have a wheel chair section right up there." They not only put us right in front of the Castle, they put us right on the curb with no one in front of us, and there were benches along the wall that we could sit on! We thought we were in heaven: the best of all places to see the parade, and benches to sit on. We saw the parade like we have never seen it before, and all because Robbie fell over the dog,.

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