"The Art of Neighboring" by Mike D'Eliso

Shortly after 9:00 PM, I finally settle into our couch to catch up on my instagram friends after rocking to sleep a baby that didn’t want to give in. My son asleep. My wife jumping into her evening shower. DING DONG. Why on earth is my doorbell ringing?!

Feeling a little confused and a little jumpy I was honestly relieved to see that it was my neighbor John from next door. But then I was hit with the next thought. Why are you here? Turns out John needed help. His minivan was up in their front lawn after he had to swerve to miss a small animal scurry in front of him. He and his wife were now stuck.

It didn’t take a second thought to throw on my boots and coat to come help. After all, these were the neighbors who let me run an extension cord from their garage to my fridge when we lost power for a week in December’s ice storm, who we house sit for during their annual summer family camping trip, and who let me use the extra space in their yard debris bin when I over prune.

Jesus calls us to love our neighbors. Well, first, he calls us to love God with everything that we are and then to love our neighbors as ourselves. When challenged with the question, “who then is my neighbor?” Jesus gives an example of an unexpected hero who acts in selfless love and thus is the true neighbor in the story. I’m talking about the parable of the good samaritan which can be found in Luke 10:25-37. If Jesus highlights that even a despised Samaritan can be a neighbor, then should I not also look up and down my own street and know that I am surely called to love these neighbors?!

How do we as a church, the people of CitySalt, live out our salty faith, in authentic ways within the places we already spend the most time?

What would our personal little worlds look like if we initiated genuine expressions of tangible love to those around us where we live, worship, work and play?

What if we neighbored well?

My hope is that if people know how much we care, they would begin to care about what we know. Crucial conversations would present themselves and we will have earned the right to share the hope that is within us. No bait and switch. No bible thumping.

I hope this call to love generously encourages you. Not that we would create large “outreach” events to check an “evangelism” box on our christian to-do list. Rather, that we would all be little light houses in our communities guiding friends to safe harbors. At this point, I don’t know exactly where each of my next door neighbors are with God or how they worship. But I do know me. And I know that Jesus calls me to love my neighbors the way I would want to be loved.