Love Your Neighbor

Wednesday, May 15

5.15By Eleanor St. Clair of Oak Harbor, Ohio, USA

“Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

—Mark 12:28–31

My daughter’s family was to arrive early that evening. They were coming from out of state and would stay for the weekend. It had been months since they had been here, and I was excited! I planned to clean house and prepare food so I wouldn’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen after they arrived. An exciting and busy time!

Then a young mother called, asking me to take her husband to the welfare office. Having done this before, I knew how long the wait could be. I hated to say “no,” but I told her that I couldn’t. Frustration exploded within. “Why me, God? Why does everybody call me? I have a life, too!” Then I asked myself the question, “Do I love my neighbor as myself?”

The Holy Spirit would not let me forget the sound of despair in her voice. She had made other calls for help, and they had refused her, as well. I called her back and said I would take him. With a big sigh of relief, she said, “I knew you would. Thank you so much.” I met their needs and raced for home.

When my daughter arrived, I had finished all my work. I was in a state of dazed disbelief. There is no way I could have done it alone. Even though my response initially was of begrudging obedience, God still was generous to me. I can only believe that God strengthened me so I might do what mattered most. You can’t outdo God’s generosity. It was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

Prayer for Peace
Generous God, help us respond to our global neighbors without hesitation. May we be present for them as you are present for us. As you are generous with us, may we be generous as we share the peace of Christ.

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 neighborhood communities. 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 step away from my agenda to respond to the call from a neighbor in need.

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