The truth is, most of us live in a garage door up, garage door down world. We come and go from our homes - heading off to work or school or soccer practice - rarely coming into contact with our neighbors. The garage door goes up, we pull the car in or out, and the garage door goes down. We tend to stick to ourselves. Our lives are full, time is precious, we've got enough to deal with in our own lives and families. We may offer a wave from the car or a brief hello at the mailbox or as we roll the recycle bin out to the curb - we don't risk getting too involved, but is that really what it means to be a good neighbor?
When asked what the most important thing we as human beings can do - Jesus answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...and love your neighbor as yourself." In the Church, we call this the Great Commandment. Love God with everything you are and love your neighbor as yourself. Challenging words. Not easy to live by - but vital according to Jesus.
This past month on Sunday mornings, we've considered Jesus' words and asked the question - What if Jesus was talking about our actual next-door neighbors? Not some hypothetical neighbor or someone on the other side of the world, but our actual next-door neighbor? What might that mean for us? What might that look like in action? What if we risked building genuine relationships with the people right outside our front door? How might our neighborhoods and our community change for the better if we actually did what Jesus taught?
If you missed the series, you can listen to the sermons online or email the church office for a digital copy. For more on the topic, consider reading, The Art of Neighboring, by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon.
How are you doing at loving your neighbor - your actual next-door neighbor - as yourself?