Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who is my neighbor?

I've got Fred Rogers little ditty: "won't you be my neighbor?" in my head.

I celebrated labor day with a new housemate and new neighbors. Elizabeth, (a minister in training) now occupies the manse at Casey Lane. We had our neighbors over for dinner last night. I'm embarrassed to say that in 22 months of living in my townhouse, this is the first time I've had my neighbors over.

Matt and Megan, on one side of us, moved here a year ago and immediately had me over for dinner and a memorable night of Wii bowling. They extended the hand, and what difference it made. Besides them being kind and caring people, it's just nice to know someone I can call to water the plants.

Yong and Jean are new on the other side. They'll become parents in a few weeks and want to settle in before the baby comes. They needed to know where the mailbox is and when the trash is picked up. All it took was them to bring over a chocolate cake for me to feel committed to them forever.

Some Christians (me among them) have spent enormous mental energy analysing that great question in Luke "who is my neighbor." That's the question that sparks Jesus to tell the tale of the Good Samaritan.

On labor day, the answer was pretty straightforward. Who are my neighbors? Well, if we share a wall, you count. Of course Jesus wanted us to extend that sense of neighborliness to all people, but if I don't even have it with the people I live next to, how can I be expected to share it widely?

I grew up embedded in a neighborhood, but I can't believe how bad I've been at neighborliness. I've heard that if you have children or a dog it's easier to know your neighbors. But without those automatic entrees, it can be hard to reach out.

Glad I finally got my act together to do it. Thanks for a great labor day, neighbor!

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