But in keeping with last week’s reading, like St. Ignatius, I have to believe that God is in all things and in these particular circumstances of my life. And so I’m asking the Spirit — how are you at work in my neighborhood? I’m listening. I’m discerning, and I’m paying attention. These are all postures that I practice in my neighborhood; and yet, now in the stillness of activity, they’re amplified in new ways. And here’s what I am noticing:
I’m noticing my neighbors who are stepping up, caring for others, and checking in with each other. Some have created a group on Facebook to care for one another – offering to bring groceries to those on quarantine, pitching in to pay looming bills for single moms, and just encouraging one another. It’s beautiful to see.
I’m noticing others leading in this time. In response to the closure of schools and our after-school tutoring program, the director of our nonprofit is pivoting to support families adversely affected in this time, many who are out of work and hard pressed to feed their families. I’m grateful for the fabric of love that has been woven here.
I’m noticing my neighbors who are missing. I’m grateful for the neighbors I do happen to know and for their contacts in my phone that make it easy to check in on them. But I find myself wondering about all the contacts I don’t have. I wonder how these neighbors are faring, how they’re affected, and if they need anything? And I’m praying that this crisis offers the opportunity for deeper and wider connections. How can those on the margins get pulled in?
I’m also grateful for sweet and unexpected moments of presence. Yesterday, my 23-year-old son and I spent a rare day together. We ate breakfast together. We took the dog for a hike together. We ate dinner together and even watched Little Women together! (Yeah, I know!) And as he prepares to move across the country for graduate school this fall, I’m grateful for this sacred gift that I will treasure. Sometimes the “other” that we are called to love and to attend to is right here under our noses.
So how is the Spirit at work in your neighborhood? Who is stepping up and offering their gifts? Who is leading? Who is needing? Who is missing? And what are the sacred gifts right under our noses? Like the good Samaritan, are we paying attention to the invitations of the Spirit? Will we allow ourselves to be disrupted from our daily routines, to take time to pause, and to be moved with compassion?
Bless those to my left and right, those in front and behind.
Bend my mind and heart toward them in ways that please you.
Bring them to mind and nudge me to pray for them.
Help me notice your invitations to love, Holy Spirit.
Give me grace and courage to respond as you lead.
May my neighbors thrive in all the ways that matter to you, Lord. Amen.
See full liturgy here, posted on Sustainable Faith.
by Jessica Ketola