“Who is my neighbour?”
This question from a Jewish lawyer was the beginning of one of the most evocative and impactful parables told by Jesus (Luke 10). As I’ve reflected on this question, I’ve noticed that while the story of Christ is deep in its description of justice and empathy, the question is deeply human. See, questioning the categories of who our ‘neighbours’ ought to be is not just a question of boundaries, but also trying to find the limit of God’s view of inclusion, and by extension, who deserves our concern and good will as followers of God.
In the past two months, Xin Yu and I have been challenged by this question. As we’ve not been able to advance the depth of our relationships with our church family as much as we would have like, we’ve felt God challenge us to consider who God has placed within our circle of life. The question we asked was, ‘what if we took this opportunity to get to know our literal neighbours and see if God opens up doors to serve them?’. We started to speak with our neighbours, asking them for their stories and opened opportunities for friendship.
What we’ve experienced has been nothing but a blessing for us. We’ve met and been able to build friendships with people of different ages, cultures, ethnicities, sexual identities and life experiences. I’ve been able to pray for some of them, encourage them during difficult days and laugh during the good ones.
One such neighbour of mine used to go to church, but had just gone through a season of deep discouragement in faith, mental health, marriage and family. We started running with one another, making it a ritual to share and pray with one another. I see that as an example of seeing God use me ‘in the wild’. The Spirit was already working in his heart, but I was given the privilege of being a part of his healing. By trying to find avenues to be obedient to God in our present circumstance, we’ve been blessed deeply by the amount of doors being opened for us to minister to our local community.
Who is my neighbour?
The parable Jesus uses to reply to that question is that to be neighbourly is to learn to serve and love people regardless of the gaps between us. The moral of the story is designed to challenge our perception of who we should love and advocate for. God’s love for His creation has NO limits, He is perpetually at work within the world around us, if we would only try and see it.
Sometimes moments of challenge and fear can cause us to retreat into our shells, and cause our concern for our neighbours to shrink. But it’s these moments where God calls us to be even more bold in our courage and love for those around us. To show them the light of Christ outside of the church building itself. Can I just encourage you, as Sydney opens up again, to consider how you can love your neighbour deeper in the coming week, months and years. To ask of God, “who is MY neighbour? And how can I join in your ministry for them?”
在過去的兩個月裡，我和我太太都被這個問題所困擾。 由於我們未能像我們希望的那樣推進我們與教會這個家有更深的關係，我們感到上帝在挑戰我們去思考上帝把誰安置在我們的生活圈子裡。 我們問的問題是，“如果我們藉此機會認識我們真正的鄰舍，看看上帝是否為他們敞開大門讓我們去服侍呢？”。我們開始與我們的鄰居交談，問他們的故事，並打開了建立友誼的機會。