Do you remember your childhood neighbor? The one who helped you up from the concrete after you fell off your bike? What about your next door neighbor? The one you helped in a moment of crisis: “The cupcakes for John’s school party call for two eggs! Can you spare me one from your fridge?” Or what about your down-the-street neighbor? The one whose lawn more closely resembles a forest? Or, conversely, the neighbor whose green thumb makes yours look purple?
The concept of neighbor seems so basic. Who is in your general proximity? Who are you sharing a season of life with? But when paired with Christian teachings of hospitality and sacrifice, being a neighbor becomes more nuanced. Just as Glenn Church is not defined by our building, our neighbors are not defined by our address. As people seeking to live a life of genuine faith, being a neighbor means embodying a spirit of neighborliness - choosing to provide friendship, care, and support to anyone, anywhere. As we learn to recognize a neighbor in everyone, our neighbors become less defined by street names and sidewalks and more by the posture of generosity we extend to all.
As a church body whose central vision for our life together is “Loving God, Loving Neighbor”, our identity as a community is shaped by how well we love our neighbors. And as Jesus reminds us in the Gospel according to Mark, that is a lot of love: “You shall love your neighbors as yourself.” The love we extend to others should mirror the love we have for ourselves. And God is honored in those acts of love.
Glenn has found countless ways to love our neighbors: packing lunches for school kids in need of a weekend meal, offering space for an AA group to gather, serving communion to homebound members of our congregation. We live into our vision well, and often. So why do we set aside a whole day each year to engage in acts of service and call it Good Neighbor Day?
It is a day devoted to remembering and claiming our collective identity. To claim our value of service to others over service to self. To claim our hopes of getting to know our neighbors all over Atlanta and forming meaningful relationships. To claim that each person bears the image of God and that alone is enough to be called neighbor.
Join us this Saturday, September 10, to serve alongside the neighbors you already know and commit to meeting some new ones along the way. Be reminded of our identity as those in service to God and God’s image in each created being.
View the list of projects here and see below for a video of all the fun Glenn had last year on this great day of service.