Won't you be my neighbour?
When you think about it, that's a pretty loaded invitation. Or is it more like a wistful request? Our worship series on that theme has allowed us to hear from a variety of voices, and we have one more to go. Voices that have spoken about what it is like to be a congregation open to being in service to the community with other like-minded-but-not-church organizations; what is entailed in being a centre of support from women; how we see the gifts of other faiths and cultures, and make ourselves vulnerable to receive those gifts, and the long road to reconciling what is considered by some as "other" in sexual orientation and Christian identity. This Sunday we will hear from Cheryl Bear, a member of Nadleh Whut'en First Nation and a recognized speaker on indigenous realities, as well as the new Director of Community Ministry at First United Church in the Downtown Eastside.
We have opened ourselves to hearing our neighbours' stories and hearing how they think Lynn Valley can be a good neighbour. One specific suggestion from Michelle Dodds of the North Shore women's Centre was that we donate toiletries - and you responded in spades! The office was full of every toiletry imaginable, and lots of them. What a Thanksgiving outpouring! Thank you! And, on the other end of the neighbour spectrum, John Thatamanil challenged us to become recipients of the grace and generosity of others. Also, rather being the bearer of gifts to others, to recognize that we too need the gifts of our neighbours. It's one thing to be the benevolent gift-giver, it's another thing entirely to be vulnerable enough to say that we are incomplete without our neighbours' gifts to us.
I hope you have found the series enlightening, enriching, and challenging. On October 25th, I will offer a review of what we've heard and wonder about what we've learned. After worship, you are invited to a conversation about the same thing - how might we integrate some of what our neighbours had to say into our life as a congregation? There will be two ways to participate - either in person, if you come to the sanctuary for the "Worship Watch Party", or via Zoom if you are with us online. Stay tuned for more information about how to take part in a conversation about how we love our neighbour, and receive our neighbours' love.