People have all kinds of mental images of God. God is our Father. He’s our Shepherd. He’s our Counselor, Provider, Protector and the list goes on. But have you ever stopped to consider God as Neighbor? Listen to how the apostles John and Paul describe Jesus.
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. -John 1:14 NLT
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. -Philippians 2:6-7
It’s not a stretch to say Jesus became our neighbor. He moved into our neighborhood. And like always, in calling us to love our neighbor, Jesus is inviting us to do more than make a futile attempt to follow his example. The invitation of his command requires continuously returning to him so that his neighboring life wells up through us.
Simply put – Jesus has taken notice of us. In him, we take notice of those he’s placed around us. Jesus listens to us. Having given our ears to him, we in turn listen to those around us. Jesus shares his life with us and is pleased to dwell within us. We invite him to compel our hearts with his same hospitable generosity leading us to open our homes and lives to those we work with and live among. When we talk about the skill of neighboring, the real art is learning to live in daily attentiveness and responsiveness to Christ’s life at work within us, compelling us toward our neighbors just as he has moved toward us.
Indeed, throughout the Bible, God reveals himself as the ultimate neighbor. This is what we’ll be exploring in our Neighborhood Church gatherings this April and May. We will consider several passages in which God’s neighboring nature and activity is revealed. And we’ll give ourselves to inviting his neighboring commitment to compel us to love where we live and neighbor well in some extremely practical ways. Consider joining us.