by Lynelle Caudillo
I'm guessing that if I gave a "pop quiz" on a Sunday morning and asked almost any of our youth or adults:" What is the greatest commandment?" most of you would score 100%! It is one thing to know that we should "Love God with all our heart, mind and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves", and it is quite another thing to DO IT!
Of course those "good religious people" of Jesus' day wanted to nit-pick so
they asked him to put a sharper point on it when they asked: "Who is my neighbor?" Indeed! To this Jesus responded by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan.
If we are to keep Jesus' command, we need to know our neighbor in order to love our neighbor! This reminds me of the old joke about the child complaining at the dinner table. The mother urges and "guilts" her into eating by saying: "Be thankful you have food and eat it! There are lots of children in China who are starving!" To this the child responds: "Name one!" Can we "name one" of our neighbors? Yes, a neighbor where you live, but also can we name a neighbor in our church neighborhood? (Other than our church members who live nearby!
we must get to know our neighbors
We cannot keep Jesus' command - we cannot love our neighbors, unless we know them! If Jesus were to give us a pop quiz and ask: "Can you name a neighbor to your church?" I am concerned that most of us might not get a passing grade!
God Next Door: Spirituality and Mission in the Neighborhood, a book by Simon Carey Holt, was recently given to me by my sister (who is incidentally, an elder in a Presbyterian church in the San Francisco bay area). Holt develops a biblical and theological basis for the neighborhood as the center for mission and ministry, as well as articulating the call of God to be living out the good news in our neighborhoods. I especially am challenged and intrigued by what he calls "disciplines of engagement": naming, celebrating, nurturing, and inviting.
If we are going to grow more vital - individually and corporately - we must learn to engage our neighbors and get to know them!
In September at least three opportunities on the calendar give us tailor-made opportunities to learn some names and get acquainted personally with some of our neighbors:
*Hi Neighbor event on Saturday, Sept. 12th
*Saturday Market Hospitality Table, Saturday, Sept 19th and
*Thursday morning Coffee's On Us
I hope that all of us will make the effort to get to know a neighbor’s name and begin to make a neighbor into a friend - for Jesus' sake!
See you in September!