Trinity and the Love of Neighbor
My family desires to love our neighbors like Jesus said in Matthew 22:34-40. So during the summer we have endeavored to have bi-monthly BBQs. Last night was the first neighborhood BBQ. It didn’t take much planning (it was sort of thrown together last minute) and the only agenda item was to eat and be together. My next-door neighbor, Chuck, made the most amazing burgers and his wife Liz made pico de gallo and guacamole. Our other neighbors, Kelsey and Matt, brought mozzarella and tomatoes on a stick (sort of like an Italian cabob). We ate, we laughed, we talked, and we got to know a little bit more about each other. It was amazing.
The whole time, I kept looking around, dreaming about what could be. Maybe in a few months we will have 10 or even 20 neighbors, all eating together and getting to know each other. The biggest challenge that I see in our culture is that it’s hard to love our neighbors when we don’t know them. The Trinitarian God (Father, Son, and Spirit) is a selfless, loving God that actively pursues people relationally. The incarnation of Jesus makes this clear. I love how the Message puts it in John 1:14, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”
Loving people takes intentionality and sacrifice, which is the same way Jesus loves us. A cursory reading of Philippians 2 shows how Jesus intentionally sacrificed in his pursuit of us. 1 John 4:10-11 tells us that since God has loved us sacrificially, that we too should love others in the same manner. So we try.
What’s been encouraging is that it hasn’t taken some grand plan, or require a ton of sacrifice. All it takes is a desire to live missionally, a willingness to put yourself out there and invite some people, and some food (the food doesn’t even have to be that good).
Dream with me for a second. Imagine living in a hood where peace and love reigns, where people who are hurting are being tended to by their neighbor, where neighbors are actively and intentionally seeking the best for each other, where families and relationships are built and relational brokenness is healed, where disciples of Jesus are made – where the kingdom is tangible and active. Imagine a whole block where Jesus is seen as King. What a glorious vision this is. Can it happen? Of course it can. Maybe not overnight, but it can happen.
I pray that the love that God has shown you inspires you to reach out to those next-door to you and love them. I pray that we all work through the fear o f rejection and pursue our neighbors. Go! Start tomorrow. Start next weekend. Start small. Set the goal to host a neighborhood gathering and see what God can do.