Who are the people in your neighborhood?
A couple of weeks back, we had our first Fitchburg Regional Impact Gathering. We were challenged to think about our neighborhoods, our city, and the ties we have to people that are the context and foundation for relationship and life together.
We were asked to draw out our home neighborhood, our “walkable community”, the place we are geographically tied to because of our home.
As the challenge comes to be in our neighborhood more, with our neighbors often more, resistance bubbles up.
“I don’t have a walkable community.”
“I only sleep at home.”
“My community is at work.”
Jesus confirmed this summary of God’s commands for life as His people:
The Pharisee who answered Jesus’ question responded to Jesus’ affirmation with his own question that might have justified his actions, or lack thereof.
“But who is my neighbor?”
We live in a time where neighborhoods and neighbors are often defined more by hobbies and common interests than by geographical boundaries.
When you think about God’s command to love your neighbor, how do you answer the question, “but who is my neighbor?” How do you think your neighbors would answer that question?
It’s not your fault, by the way.
Instead of suggesting that we don’t do what we should, I want to challenge our conception of home and place, and the importance of our geographical neighborhood especially as we love our neighbors and make disciples… in our going.
Where you live, where you sleep, eat, whatever, your home provides some foundation for all the rest. Even if you feel like you spend your life living elsewhere, you wouldn’t be able to do that without the shelter, safety, and security you have. Many of those basic needs are fundamentally bound with your home.
You share a strong bond with your neighbors, around the ways that some of those fundamental needs are possibly met in your neighborhood.
As we seek to be Visible Reflections of Jesus,
the Word became flesh who made his home among us,
how much time to we spend in our neighborhoods?
Over the next 4 weeks, open yourself to the possibility of more connection in your neighborhood and with your neighbors. Decide to intentionally be in your neighborhood one more time per week. You could go for a walk or a drive. You could invite neighbors over for dinner or drinks (or both). Whatever it is, just be there a little more, and observe your neighborhood. What you and others love about it.
Remember, most people, including your neighbors, are used to having more connection outside of the neighborhood. But, maybe, there could be more.
Be the catalyst in your home and in your neighborhood, and see what God does.
How are you choosing to be present in your neighborhood? What are you noticing? Please let me know in the comments or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org