Prayer: Lord, help me to trust those who live close to me.
Reading: Proverbs 3:27-29 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: A few years back, my Amish neighbor and I got into a serious struggle. A few of my English neighbors joined me, and although I never heard of an Amish coalition, I imagine most of my other Amish neighbors knew who I was. It was really quite a struggle. In the midst of that struggle my Amish neighbor said to me, “I hope we can be neighbors again.”
Being neighbors is sometimes difficult. Perhaps that is why we often quote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” I Googled that just to remember who said it. Robert Frost ends his poem “Mending Wall” with those words. But I also discovered that there are German, Norwegian, Russian, Japanese and Hindi versions of the quote. The idea is more universal than I thought.
Being a neighbor sometimes means that I mind my own business. It also means that sometimes I ignore what my neighbor is doing. Sometimes being a good neighbor means staying in your own yard. Butting out.
But I like better what we read in Proverbs today. Give your neighbor good. Don’t plan to harm your neighbor. And then there is this startling description of your neighbor, “who lives trustingly beside you.” We live together, in neighborhoods, in trust. That’s pretty good wisdom. For sure, there will be differences among neighbors and maybe even disputes. But isn’t it great when in the end you and your neighbor can gather over the bar-b-que and live in trust? --Jim Bricker
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