On a hot Saturday in Plano 20 of us were completely turning over an overgrown yard for a retired veterans couple in their 70s. Project leader and Finance Chair Rick Billings remarked to me with a smile on his sweat-covered face, "MAN I had forgotten how much I MISS this!"
Rick said what some 250 people felt as they worked Saturday and Sunday on behalf of seniors in retirement homes, prisoners in East Texas, the poor who find grace at the Salvation Army and Minnie's Pantry, the animals at the Plano Animal Shelter, and the dozens of people whose lives will be extended by our 32 blood donors. Thank you to Mission Chairs Leslie Harris and Debbie Ison who organized us for Mission Together.
As Rick inferred, it is easy to get away from this prime directive that Jesus gave us. In Luke's story, the legal expert knew what he was supposed to do - love God with everything and love the neighbor automatically. But he wanted to hedge his bet; he wanted a loophole to step through if he didn't like the work or the people Jesus was giving him to love. In so doing, it becomes easy to forget to do it and forget how to do it. As with our Mission Together, the Neighboring Movement that begins next month reminds us again how to be a neighbor.
Under the Rev. Diane Presley's coordination in September, a group of 15-20 will meet every week for 24 weeks and three times with people from other churches to learn and practice what our grandparents did automatically - be a neighbor to the people on either side of your home and across the street. It will be easy to learn and fulfilling to live out. This group will likely be the first of several to go through this curriculum, reach out to our neighbors, and have a lot of us saying, "MAN I had forgotten how much I MISS this."