I had a delightful conversation with my neighbor.  He piddles in the yard, as do we, so we often meet to chat at the edge of our yards.  However, since the pandemic began I have stayed distanced. It might seem I’ve been more than a bit detached but I believe that it’s a necessary strategy to keep the virus from spreading. Recently, I did checked in with him. It seems that he and his wife have managed well enough through this crisis.  Interestingly, we are pretty different in our thinking about culture issues and resolutions, theology, politics, TV channels and privilege.  But that all being said we are still neighbors and he is a good neighbor.  So sitting on my thinking chair I tarried with the notion of “neighbor.” What are the characteristics of being a good neighbor? The reflecting became more personal… Am I a good enough neighbor?   I discovered that in the Greek the word for neighbor, like the one used in the question “Who is my neighbor?” means “worthy to be regarded as a friend and companion.”
Elie Weisel – the famous writer, professor at Boston University, political activist, Nobel Prize Winner and Holocaust survivor once said: The opposite of love, is not hate, it is indifference.  Indifference is not an option.  Just as racism is not and evil is not.  We can make a difference in even the smallest of ways. And we must learn to see in the other in the street, in the passerby….not an enemy, but a fellow sojourner….not an enemy…. but a friend, a companion; someone whose hand, when it is open, is a gift in itself.”

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:36-39
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Reflection Questions:
Who do you regard as a friend and companion – your neighbors?
What makes for a good neighbor?
How are you being a good neighbor?

Prayer:
Holy God, open my hand and heart to receive the gift of neighbors. Help me not to be indifferent to the needs of others and guide me toward living a life that makes a difference. Amen.

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