Do Not Move from House to House
Luke 10: 7 | By Rev Amy Schenkel
In the first five years of our marriage, we lived in five different places. Every Spring I used up every last can of food into a variety of creative dishes. I'd then prepare to put our kitchen supplies into printer-paper boxes which we would stack in a moving truck, and unload onto new shelves and drawers in a new apartment. The pattern of moving every Spring was so ingrained in us that, in the sixth year when we were living in the first house we bought, my husband looked in the cupboards in May and wondered why the cupboards were so empty!
Not only did we live in such a way that we could efficiently pack up our belongings in a day or two, we also put down the shallow roots that could easily be uprooted in these communities. As I try to recall our neighbors in each location, I realize that the longer we were in a place, the more names and characteristics I can remember. I wonder if any of them remember us.
In contrast, we have been in our current neighborhood for more than a decade. Over the years, we have shared in our neighbors' lives: we have mourned the deaths of elderly neighbors, celebrated births of newborns, and helped each other clean up after a small tornado. We've shared meals and childcare, and discussed politics and religion.
Why did Jesus want his followers to remain in one place? How is this an important practice of being sent out on mission? It is because through developing relationships we have the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to our neighbors. It is in the context of a relationship that we can most effectively share the good news of the gospel.
As our Christian, elderly neighbors age out of their homes, the neighbors who move in are typically not part of a faith community. They represent a younger generation and growing ethnic diversity. They care about the environment and being part of a community. Our continued presence in the neighborhood is an important missionary practice because we have the opportunity to develop relationships through which we can truly share the love of Jesus with neighbors we love.
How is your presence in the neighborhood where you live a missional practice? How do you love your neighbors?
Creator God, who made each one of us in your image, may we reflect your love to our neighbors. May we love them as you love them, fully and completely. And we pray that in our relationships with our neighbors, your grace and truth will be known. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
INTERACT WITH OTHERS
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