April 12, 2010


Can I take just a moment to brag about how wonderful my neighborhood is (in particular, the neighbors on either side of us), and how much I love living where I do? I'll walk you through the last month or so, so you can get a good picture of it. Granted, all of us happen to work at the same ministry, so we would expect to be friendly with one another... but check this out.

March 12th - We go to Israel for 12 days. Our neighbors on the left take care of our dog for 7 of those days - and just about any other time we need it. And our dogs play together in the yard on a regular basis.
March 25th - Our neighbors on the left have a difficult season in their lives, so I take dinner over and put flowers in their kitchen while they're out of town so they don't have to cook when they get back.

April 3rd - One of the neighbors on our right side (in our rent house) comes over for dinner. I don't have any sugar for sweet tea, so she brings some.
April 4th - Several of the girls from the rent house come over for a potluck dinner.
April 5th - I go over to the girls' house to watch TV with them.
April 6th - Matt and I both go over to the girls' house to watch LOST together because we don't get ABC on our TV.
April 9th - Our neighbor on the left comes over to do maintenance on our riding lawnmower to prepare it for summer. He borrows it to mow his lawn, and in return keeps it in tip-top shape for us and shares the cost.
April 10th-11th - We go out of town, so one of the girls watches our dog for us... again.
April 12th - Heidi and I go outside in the front yard. The girls are having a picnic dinner on the lawn, so we stop in for a moment. Our other neighbor texts to see if she can borrow some vegetable oil. Sure. I tell the picnic girls to come over when they're done and we'll watch a movie. I want to make banana bread, but don't have any sugar. They'll bring some, no problem. (update - and some extra flour)

We have learned about hospitality on our trips to Israel - how you can't survive in the desert alone, how accustomed they are to serving one another out of necessity, how a woman and her family (daughters, grandkids) will make homemade bread and sweet tea (syrup!) for 50 people in a matter of minutes, because it's what they DO. They just do. No questions asked.

I'm also reminded of how the first church functioned this way. They had all things in common and shared their possessions as if nothing were their own, but belonged to the group. I recently read an article in one of the (pretty liberally-minded) magazines that I subscribe to about doing this very thing - offering up your possessions and services to those around you. It really is a neat idea, but one that is ancient, Biblically-based and the way it's supposed to be.

I know that they way we live with our neighbors is just a taste of what the Bedouins in Israel or the first church in Acts experience(d) on a daily basis, but I'll say this: if we ever move to another house, city or state, I will want to find a community like this one.