I live in a neighbourhood where the people are friendly enough to wave a greeting across the street or chat in the driveway, or smile but aren’t otherwise going back and forth to visit as best friends. We all try to keep our pets under control and our lawns and gardens respectable. But this summer I suffered a heart condition and when my neighbours found out (without saying a word) simply came on different occasions all summer long to cut my lawn. I was deeply touched by the corporate caring and was especially glad I lived in such a good neighbourhood.
The Bible also has a lot to say about good neighbours. Perhaps it is a good time to repeat the most famous story Jesus told when defining a good neighbour.
Luke 10:25-37 New International Version
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live. 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denariic and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The story made me think of other neighbours whose names I don’t even know but who will be remembered on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11. They are neighbours we may never have waved at or spoken to but who when the need was greatest enlisted in the military, went to far away lands and gave their lives to protect their family and neighbours at home. They mean we live in a good neighbourhood and give thanks to God for it.
May God’s thanksgiving rise up among us so we, like those who gave their lives so we can enjoy so much good that God created, follow God’s great command and love our neighbours as we also want to be loved.