From The Rev. Jim McDonald, LCSW
When we think about our neighbors, we typically think of our immediate neighbors with whom we often have various characteristics in common, such as income level, ethnicity, age, etc. As we expand our vision of those who are our neighbors into more global perspectives, we think of people who are similar and also of people who may be different from us in various ways such as income, ethnicity, language(s), education (or lack thereof), occupation (or lack thereof), adequate housing (or lack thereof), socioeconomic level which may be markedly different from ours.
I recently read an article which contained this comment: “This world is divided into three kinds of nations: those that spend lots of money to keep their weight down; those whose people eat to live; and those whose people don’t know where their next meal is coming from.” While this is true of countries, it is also true of people who live in our country…in our State…in our county… in our city. When we think about our neighbors it is easier for us to think of people who are like us…it is less comfortable to think about those many people who are our neighbors who do not know when or from where their next meal will come. Or their schoolbooks…or a job…or adequate clothing…or safe housing…. The list of our neighbors’ needs is long.
We as individuals and as the cathedral congregation have learned who our neighbors are and have done many helpful, caring things for our neighbors who are nearby and those who are far away.
Jesus often spoke of relationships and the interdependence of people with each other and what is expected of his followers. A lawyer asked what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus turned the question around as he often did and asked the lawyer what was written in the Law. The lawyer replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” When the lawyer asked who was his neighbor, Jesus answered by telling how a good neighbor behaves in the example of the good Samaritan who took care of a man who had been attacked and left for dead.
Our neighbors are people who may be near or far with whom we behave as neighbors: in thought, prayer, word, and action.