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: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’ Mark 10:30-31
A few years ago I read a book ‘Just walk across the room’ by Bill Hybels, and it had a big impact on me. I learnt how to listen when the Holy Spirit nudged me to ‘just walk across the room’ and talk with someone, often outside my comfort zone.
I started to recognise when it happened. After a carol service I felt that nudge, almost a shove in the small of my back, and went up to an unfamiliar visitor, and, well, listened more than talked: the talk had triggered her to share something of her difficulties and she accepted an offer of prayer. It wasn’t always a face to face thing - I felt that nudge again one evening and rang 2 unconnected people, both of whom turned out to be struggling and in tears and needed to talk.
Sometimes I feel that nudge and it turns out simply to be a nice conversation. And I sometimes don’t recognise the nudge until after I have ignored it, and wish I hadn’t.
So as we start a new month in these strange times, what might that nudge feel like at the moment? Well, there is no room to walk across, and even crossing the road to talk to someone is discouraged. So it’s mostly about phone, email, text or even an old fashioned letter or card. It could be a prompt to ring someone you haven’t seen in ages; to follow up a comment on Whatsapp / Facebook; to extend a chat about on line shopping, health and family to talk about our on line services, to forward a ‘Thought for the Day’ or pluck up courage to offer a simple prayer.
Loving your ‘neighbour’ is often about listening to words and signals and praying you respond with wisdom and compassion. And it may help someone at a difficult time, show them what being Christian is – and it could even end up being part of a faith journey for both of you!
Lord please help me to respond when your Spirit nudges me to connect with someone and guide me to ‘be a good neighbour’ in that conversation.
For the neighbours in our streets, for their wellbeing and for relationships to be built during this time.