I remember it as if it was yesterday. My little sister and I sitting on the porch of our house. Tears streaming down her face. Then she looks me straight in the eyes and says , “Tara, why does this happen. Why is Will treated so awfully?” Will was my sisters best friend at the time and he is gay. To this day, my sister has a hard time walking into her church. Yes a lot of strides have been made but she is still hurt. And can you blame her?
I’ve been listening intently this week to the conversations around me. But a question from today’s sermon is what keeps jumping out at me, “Who is your neighbor?” I’ll admit I haven’t always been the best at seeing my neighbor. And I want to do better. I want to raise the expectations of this church. I want to truly know who my neighbors are! For the truth is our neighbors are some ones mother, father, sister, friend, etc.
And your neighbor might just be someone like my own mom who has lived most of my life with a mental illness. I’ll tell you that I wouldn’t know the love and grace of our God without this being part of my story. My mom has taught me more about God’s amazing love and grace than anyone else. She honestly would give the shirt off of her back to a stranger in need. And as I reflect on that, I’m realizing that she has taught me so much about being a neighbor to all my brothers and sisters in Christ; brothers and sisters of every, race, religion, etc.
As a church, can we do better? Can we please love our neighbors as we love ourselves? Can we be Christ to each other and show each other we are a somebody and NOT a nobody? Can we be a voice for the voiceless? Can we be a church that raises expectations rather than speaking graveyard talk?
That’s the kind of church I want to be a part of and proclaim to the world!!