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Archive for January 17th, 2022

Loving Your Neighbor

MEDITATION:

Written by Laura Georgakakos, a contemporary author. This is an excerpt from her book “Grace Notes.”

At a red light recently, as I handed out money to a homeless man, he surprised me by announcing as he approached, “My name is James.” In that quick interval before the light turned green, he reached for the money in my outstretched hand, but even more eagerly for the hand itself, for a human connection. I’m a person. Wait before you zoom away—I have a name. I want to be known.

Several houses down our street lives a little girl. I have only ever known her by the sound of her voice. She is usually playing outside and she is usually screaming. That seems to be the way she relieves tension and declares herself to a world too busy for her. Bloodcurdling screams as she rides her bike, as she chases her brother, as she waits for her parents to get home from work. Sometimes I pray for her. Other times I resent her interrupting my work. I sit in my office angrily clenching my jaw as I write about the love of God. Yesterday, I returned home from a walk, she was playing in front of my house. Face to face for the first time with this tiny creature, and she spoke in a quiet voice, almost accusing, “Do you know my name?” I was taken aback by the question and ashamed to realize I did not know her name. “It’s Gabriella,” she informed me. You pray for me from afar. Do you even know who I am? Would you spare any of your precious time for me?

Sometimes I go through the Christian motions forgetting the point. I rush past the needy people in my path on my way to serving God in a larger or “official” capacity. My eye is on the far horizon, on my “important” duties while a child is lonely at my feet. As Christians, we gear up for the grand gesture while over and over He asks that we love one another. I was surprised to discover how oven “Love your neighbor” is repeated in the Bible. Christ asks us to slow down and regard the person in front of us, to look them in the eye, to find out their name, who they are, what they need. He asks us to listen. C. S. Lewis said, “The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.” This is the real and immediate assignment for every one of us—to live out the love of Christ moment by moment, in our backyard, in a ballroom, in a sanctuary on a soccer field, on a street corner. One cup of cold water at a time.

PRAYER:

Written by Laura Georgakakos, the author of today’s meditation.

Father, may we make You visible, make You known to those around us. May we serve Your purposes in this world. For Your honor.  Amen.  

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