Outreach: Who is my neighbor?

Rev. Letta Palmer
Posted 7/27/19

“’For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared …

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Outreach: Who is my neighbor?

Posted

“’For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:35-40

Have you heard the scripture about “loving your neighbor as you love yourself?” Many people think that their neighbor is the person immediately on the right and left of them on their little streets. It’s hard to believe, but if you ask people “who are the people who live next door to you” many are hard-pressed to come up with a name.

In this cyber-rich world, we have a great number of “friends” who live far away that we’ve met on Facebook, and we know more about them, than we do those who are our closest neighbors.

Where I grew up in little hamlet in southern Madison County, everyone knew everyone in town, who the parents, kids, and grandparents were, and what they did for a living. Many of them were related to one-another.

The two main social hot-spots were the Community Club and the Church. Everyone in town would show up for events at either location, given the time of year. It was safe to say, that no matter where we were in town, we knew who was at home, and where you could go for help.

I realize that Rome is not my like hometown (it’s far bigger and more diverse). The point I want to make is, that scripture wants us, as Christians, to look after all of those around us and lend a hand when needed. To share what we have with each other and to support our brothers and sisters in a way that is not intrusive, but loving; just as the scripture at the beginning of this article says.

This is what we are asked to do, and the faith-based communities are charged to lead this movement, as God had charged us to do. Right now, around you are communities that are either leading, working along-side local coalitions, or those struggling to begin an outreach—to see that our communities need more a Sunday of worship to make life better.

Now, more than ever, the call to people to use whatever they have, to offer assistance and guidance, and love to neighbors who are struggling.

I saw a saying last week at a conference I attended that read, “don’t judge someone until you have walked two moons in their moccasins.” This saying says so true because we have no idea what that other person is going through.

So, when you reach out, reach out with both hands and hearts to your neighbor, you never know how rich a friendship you may make. Grace, peace and love to you all.

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