Neighbor Love

Modern man has suffered from a deepening condition of “homelessness.” The result of the migratory character of his experience of society and of self has been called a metaphysical loss of home. –Peter Berger

Sandy and I started walking a couple of months ago in preparation for the ING marathon coming up on January 27th, 2013.  Obviously, we want to get in shape for race day. (Read- Pray for us!)  An unintended consequence of our walking routine has been the opportunity to walk nearly every street within two miles of our house.  Along the way, we have discovered streets we didn’t know existed. We’ve gotten a better feel for our neighborhood and the sense of what “local” means.

We use the word “local” a lot today and we are encouraged to support our community through our buying choices.  But, as Berger says, we have lost our sense of connection.  It takes a hurricane and loss of power for us to bind together with our neighbors.  Not much will get us out of our air condition controlled homes.

As I read church history, I find that the church grew not because the first believers were powerful or wealthy.  There was no church growth moment.  It was clearly the Spirit’s power.  The first churches, with one exception, all met in homes.  To invite someone into your home was to invite that person to share fellowship.  It was tantamount to inviting them to church.  The church grew through neighboring as believers loved their neighbors.  One Roman writer explained it to the emperor Hadrian:

They love one another.  And he who has gives to him who has not without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him into their own homes and rejoice over him as a very brother…. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food…. Such, O King, is their manner of life…. And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine in the midst of them.

I think this is what Jesus meant when he commanded us to love our neighbors.  He wasn’t asking us to love the idea of loving people around us.  I believe he was asking us to start with our actual neighbors.

Make a home. Help to make a community. Be loyal to what you have made. Put the interests of your community first.  Love your neighbors—not the neighbors you pick but the ones you have. –Wendell Berry

So yes, please pray for Sandy and for me…that we would be able to get into shape for the marathon, but also pray that we come to know and love our neighbors.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy on February 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    We are so–too–removed from this :-(.


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