Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry, thirsty, a stranger,

naked, sick or imprisoned...?  (Matthew 25: 37 - 39)

Chances are someone living close to us or in close relationship to us, is suffering from abuse, experiencing poverty and its effects, or struggling to navigate through our immigration system in hopes that a life in the U.S. is significantly better than that in the country of their birth.  According to "Who Is My Neighbor?  Who Can't I See?", the Laity Convocation held in February, much of the time, we fail to see or to understand the needs around us, or to act out of loving care and compassion.  And yet, the Bible clearly states that we will be held accountable for our failure to "see" and to serve these folks.

Recently, CUMC hosted a community forum to talk about the rash of home burglaries in our area and what we could do to prevent any further incidents.  The #1 suggestion by the detectives who shared with us was "to get to know our neighbors."  By getting to know each other and watching out for each other, we have a better chance of knowing whether or not the person walking down the street, or up to our neighbors' front door, "belongs" there.  We will have a better chance at recognizing suspicious activity.  We will be less hesitant to call 911 when we see something out of the ordinary. 

So often we talk about wanting our church to be more "visible" in the community.  Perhaps as a church and as "good neighbors," we need to reframe our thinking a bit.  Maybe we need to see to it that the community is more "visible" to us.  Who are our neighbors?  What are their needs?  How can we meet them?  There is both a secular and a spiritual advantage for this.  Our earthly home will become a safer place and our heavenly home will be assured.  "Lord, when did we see you ... And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'"

Dept. of Children & Family Services Hot Line  1-800-25ABUSE     

Drug & Alcohol Help Line   866-613-8224