Extend Yourself

1-22By Janné Grover of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, USA

…let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. …and live in love, as Christ loved us…

—Ephesians 4:25, 5:2

As the result of an unsettling break-in at our home, the outpouring of genuine concern and assistance from our neighbors was a blessing. Going through this ordeal and seeing the response of those who live around us has caused me to think about my call as a member of my neighborhood community. I’m a friendly neighbor when I have the opportunity, but I admit I do not reach out and freely extend hospitality.

I was content to be a pleasant member of the community without extending myself into the lives of my neighbors. I chose to know them on a superficial level. I love to welcome people into my home, but the invitation often goes to my extended family and church family. After years of recognizing the need to reach out and share Christ with those in my neighborhood, I have realized I simply need to make myself receptive to opportunities waiting right outside my door.

One night I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try to nurture neighborhood relationships. Going even further, I listened again to the story of Mary and Martha. My house was far from clean and tidy, and the dinner dishes were not yet washed, but I put a cobbler in the oven, and there was plenty to share. I spontaneously called our neighbors and invited them over. We had a wonderful opportunity for laughter and conversation and allowed ourselves to be receptive to the blessings that come from being fully present in community.

Prayer for Peace
God of hospitality, may we always extend the invitation to gather in community, to live in love and share Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Offering Blessings of Community
Receive and share Blessings of Community. Begin with a prayer of gratitude for the relationships in your life. See and feel connections with family members, spiritual friends, people in your congregation and community, and people and creatures in God’s sacred web of life. What blessings flow to you from these circles?

Reflect, pray, or write in your journal about the call to be “Community of Christ.” Go deeper each day as you discern what act of blessing you are invited to complete.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will not clean my house. I will invite people to Christ.

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