Lessons from the Neighborhood

As I was walking the dog this morning, something I do just about every morning, I found myself thanking God for the privilege to live in such a wonderful neighborhood. It is beautiful with lovely treelined streets. It has two very large water retention ponds, a Florida thing to prevent flooding. But for me, I love my neighbors. 

I live in a culturally diverse neighborhood. We are white, hispanic, black, Indian, and Asian. We come from very different backgrounds and yet, we are very neighborly. We look out for each other. We help each other. To be honest our ethnic backgrounds don’t really matter. I sincerely believe we see each other as people and more importantly, as neighbors. I don’t think of my neighbors as “those people” but rather as my neighbor. 

Another thing I like is I have learned a lot about their cultures in some cases. It has been quite fun learning the differences of how Christmas is celebrated or when the World Cup was played. I never really paid attention to the World Cup until the last few years! It really is fun to watch everyone get so excited. It can also get really loud! But a great time is had by all, win or lose.

That got me to pondering the joy I had serving a multicultural congregation. These folks were true family even though they had different skin colors, backgrounds and experiences in life. We saw each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. When anyone was in trouble, everyone came out to help. 

I felt the need to write this because the world and the church seem to emphasize how racist and oppressive folks are and I think that we need to stop seeing everything and everyone that way. I am not saying there is no racism because I have served churches where it was rampant. And I know people who are racist.

But maybe, if those of faith lived in the reminder of hope from Paul, we would see the change we want. The words of hope are these, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:28, 

I love my neighborhood and I think it is a glimpse of what can be and will be in heaven. Lord may it be so and thank you for allowing me to live in this place and this time. Please bless my neighbors. Amen.