I live in one of the most ethnically, racially, and religiously diverse cities in the country. The floor in the apartment building where I live is housed by a German couple, a Korean couple, a Jewish woman, a Chinese couple, and two gay couples.
We love our neighbors. They watch out for us and we watch out for them.
I'm not sure what your living context is, but we all have neighbors. Maybe they are for us, maybe they are against us, but the way of Jesus makes no distinction. We are to show agape (self sacrificial) love to everyone.
Today, I'd like to challenge you to cross the hallway, the street, or the lot and tell your neighbors that you "see them." Of course, that may sound creepy if you say it like that, but here are some suggestions for more socially acceptable ways to say it.
1. "This is some news week, huh? I just wanted you to know that with all of the division happening in our country that I'm right next door, and if you need anything, just let me know."
2. "I know there are a lot of opinions flying around right now about who is welcome in the U.S. and who isn't. I just wanted to drop by and say that I'm glad that you're my neighbor, and if you need anything, please don't hesitate to ask."
3. "Hi. I just stopped by to see if you need anything. It seems like the headlines are expecting us all to lock our doors and put walls up around our properties. I just wanted you to know that my door is always open if you need anything. Here's my number. Call anytime."
Then, follow through on it. Check in on your neighbors from time to time, especially if they are first generation or second generation immigrants.
There is so much fear being injected into the consciousness of our country right now. Yet, the scripture teaches us that love drives out fear.
So let's start driving it out.
Ryan Phipps is the Lead Pastor of Forefront Church in Manhattan, New York City. Forefront is a progressive faith community dedicated to cultivating a just and generous expression of the Christian Faith in New York and around the world.
Ryan also serves as the Director of Communications for Convergence, the umbrella organization comprising The Center for Progressive Renewal, The Open Network, and The Form Network.
Learn more about Forefront Church at forefrontnyc.com.
Learn more about Convergence at convergenceus.org.