Neighbors

Families from Portland's Irvington neighborhood enjoy a snowy day in Irving Park

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Matthew 22:36-39

Families from Portland’s Irvington neighborhood enjoy a snowy day in Irving Park, building snowmen, sledding down the hill, playing with their dogs. This is what America could be, people enjoying their neighbors regardless of race or religion or gender or sexuality or any of the other walls we build to separate us, but it breaks my heart not so much that this country will never exist but that so many don’t even want it to. And doubly so that so many Christians reject in fear those we should be embracing.

I think all of the gospels can be summed up in the parable of the good Samaritan, a parable that Jesus tells not to teach us to be kind to strangers, which he assumes we already know, but to teach us who our neighbor is.

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:36-37

The essence of Christianity is this:

  1. Love your neighbor
  2. Your neighbor is everyone

Forget about putting Christ in Christmas, how amazing could this world be if Christians put Christ in Christianity?