It’s the ease of calling a neighbor to ask if they would come pray for a shut-in who is sick. It’s every Wednesday night, sharing a meal with friends and neighbors and strangers (who don’t stay strangers for long). It’s the sheer joy of welcoming our international students into a true sense of family. It’s being “auntie” and “uncle” to the littles in our community. It’s the joy of giving tired parents a welcome break. It’s not being able to go to Fred Meyers or One Cup Coffee without running into someone we know, whether they are a part of our faith community or a student from our tutoring program, someone from the gym, or a fellow parent, neighbor, or community resource team member. It’s the privilege of no commute, freeing up valuable resources of time and oil. And for those neighbors who still commute, alas, it is the camaraderie of the E-Line.
It’s the constant overlap. Overlapping of lives, of interests, and of community efforts. We attend a disaster preparedness meeting and we see both new and familiar faces of neighbors, fellow followers of Jesus, Turning Point tutors, and neighborhood advocates. It’s being connected to a place, feeling a sense of pride, ownership and responsibility. To walk the neighborhood with purpose and with a love for the people who live here. This is our place. With its unique history, its gifts, its flaws, its challenges and its opportunities. And as followers of Jesus, we are committed to the renewal of this place and the flourishing of all who live here.
We care. But not in some disembodied or hyper-spiritual way. We care about everything. We care that our neighbors experience the transforming love of God, yes, we do. And we care that our neighbors have shelter and enough to eat. We care that our children are being nurtured and that our youth are being mentored. We care that our parents and children have sidewalks to walk on and parks to play in. We care about creating more third places in which we can gather and partake in the connection and meaning that comes when we share life together. We care that we know our neighbors and that our elderly are taken care of. We care that our local businesses thrive. We care that friendships are built across cultural, religious and socioeconomic divides. We care that our refugees feel welcome. Simply put, we care. And we’re not going anywhere. We live here too. We need our neighbors as much as they need us. This is the indescribable gift of community life in the neighborhood. A million and one small, seemingly insignificant things, that add up to the big thing. Because what we do every day matters much more than what we do every once in awhile. This is why Jesus was a big fan of the little things, children, the poor, the meek, the humble and the upside down paradox of the kingdom.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. - Robert Brault
by Jessica Ketola