Blog from Kristy Engel

I recently had a fall where I was lying at the bottom of my stairs and realizing that I needed to call someone to help me. Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt so badly that I needed an ambulance, but I did need a friend to help. In thinking whom I should call, I had many names pass through my mind, and this is a good thing. A very good thing!

Why? Because that is what it means to be part of a community. When we are part of a community, we know there are people who are available when we need them, and we also make ourselves available to others. We share things…ideas, food, yard-care equipment, tools, driving, etc. And, it may seem silly to you that I’m mentioning this because you may have always had friends or family or community, but there are a lot of people who don’t have this or long for community, and we should find a way to include them.

Our world today makes it very easy to be isolated and NOT live in community. We can drive, alone, to work from our closed garages and back again, closing the garage door behind us, never once saying hello to a neighbor. We don’t have as many bridge clubs or block parties in our neighborhoods. Many people today, don’t even know the names of their neighbors, much less feel comfortable calling on them if they need help, which is the opposite of community.

Most places around the world are different. When I lived in the Dominican Republic, all of my neighbors knew me, and we talked. People would sit in front of their house and chat with friends and neighbors who were passing by. We were aware of who had kids, dogs, family visiting, and we always tried to help each other. Once, when my truck needed a push-start, a neighbor stopped his car and jumped out to help us push the truck until I could jump-start it. He was wearing dress shoes, a nice shirt and dress pants but that didn’t stop him from helping. Another time, when I was moving and selling my furniture, a neighbor started taking down the make, model and license plates of the vehicles that were taking things out of my home! He was worried that someone was robbing me (he noticed my car wasn’t in the driveway) and so the next time he saw me he handed me the list and asked if I knew any of them. He did it just because it was the neighborly thing to do, and he cared if I was being harmed.

We’ve lost a lot of our sense of being neighborly these days. It’s painful for me to watch. At Parkway, though, we are a community and that brings me hope. We work together, love each other, care for each other and we are there when someone falls! I pray that this community extends beyond our doors, though. How are you a good neighbor to others? Do you limit your care of others to just those you see at church?

Jesus talked about what it meant to be a good neighbor and defined for the Jewish scholars whom we should consider our neighbor. In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. After the story, a religious scholar replies to Jesus’ query about “who acted as a neighbor?” His answer is, “the one who showed him mercy,” and was correct. Jesus then said he was to go and do the same. I wonder if we are doing the same….everywhere.

How have you been a neighbor? Where do live in community to offer grace, hope and love to the world? These are important things for us to ask and act on, each and every day of our lives.