Two weeks ago, while biking around the neighbourhood, I found one older neighbour and his son sitting around the fire.
I made myself available and they offered to have me join them, so I did.
Last week I made a point of celebrating ‘Cinco de Mayo’ by telling another neighbour we should get together, despite it being a Monday and celebrate for a few minutes. The five minutes turned into an hour, in which the next door neighbour dropped in to join us and we were served pizza buns. The next day a young couple began discussing a day in which we could gather to pick up garbage.
Yet another couple suggested we also gather around the campfire, perhaps enjoy some geocaching, and then there was an invitation to garden together. It is cool to be part of neighbourhood that is willing to be involved with each other’s lives.
And it’s risky, not to mention filled with fear.
The idea of loving your neighbour is a Biblical concept that has been undervalued. First, it is about loving, which is an action filled with a servant mentality. Loving your neighbour is not about what is deserved or not deserved, but simply a gesture of giving with no strings attached; some call it unconditional love. Unconditional love is best found in the story of Jesus.
Second, loving your neighbour can mean loving those who are around you, which means you may not get to choose who you love.
There are ways one can define who their neighbour is, but none can do it without including their actual neighbour.
So here are a few ideas to work on. Walk around your neighbourhood. Enjoy the beauty – children playing, wildlife hiding, sweet smells of spring or the sight of a restored antique.
Spend more time in the front yard, instead of the back. Drink, read, play in a place that makes yourself available for those impromptu moments with neighbours that you will never encounter if you are tucked away in the backyard. The next time you have a need, ask your neighbour for a hand. This sounds risky to some, but most neighbours would love to lend you that ingredient you are missing, tool that you cannot find or talent that you may not have.
Throw a block party; after all June is block party month! Have it in a neutral area, as opposed to someone’s home.
I have a story unfolding that can be found on this blog – www.centralalberta.blogspot.ca.
Pastor Rick Abma is the Neighbourhood Life minister of Wolf Creek Community Church.
IN GOOD FAITH