Someone asked Jesus what the most important thing to do was. He said (Mark 12:30-31):
‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ And, ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
I want to focus on the second part… about neighbors. If you live in the Banregat area, chances are, you live in a typical suburban environment (new development single family home, condo, apartment, adult community), and… you probably don’t know your neighbors.
I don’t… not really. I mean, we wave to each other when we see each other in the yard, or we talk to each other when we bring our kids to the bus stop, but we don’t really know each other. And if you don’t know someone… you can’t really love them.
I grew up in a ‘neighborhood’ type environment in northern NJ back in the 70’s and 80’s. Back then, and back there, we really knew our neighbors. We would swim in the neighbor’s pool, have parties together, hang out on the porch, and talk over the fence. We went to each others graduations and weddings and funerals. OK… there were always those neighbors we didn’t get along with… like Jarrett (The Carrot… we named him) he was mean. Or, the old man who yelled at us whenever we stepped near his lawn, and then there was the neighbor with the mean old dog he would let loose at us.
But, by and large, we knew our neighbors… and loved them… and they loved us.
I don’t see how we can begin to love and be loved if we don’t even engage the people who live their lives mere feet from where we live ours. If we start building realtionships with our neighbors we may find that together we are making the world a better place for life and love.
Next time we see our neighbors… let’s not just wave, but let’s make an effort to build a relationship.