Good Neighbors

This month, I’d like to share Emrie’s note to her parishioners. Emrie is an ordained Cumberland Presbyterian minister, newly ordained, newly married. Her wisdom makes her an “old soul.” I’m so glad I have her to share theological ideas and biblical translations. Beyond that, she is becoming one of my BFFs (best friends forever) … I found out you may have more than one BFF!

“If you watched my video devotional last Sunday while we were all trapped inside, then you know that I learned a lot in this last week about being a good neighbor.

Well, there’s more.

On Sunday, Matt and I heard a scraping outside of on our street. We looked out and realized that a handful of men from a house up the street were scraping the two-inch layer of ice off of the road. Matt told me he wondered if we should help (after all, he’d heard his pastor say something about being a witness to his neighbors). Well, I couldn’t argue with that logic, so we grabbed a couple of shovels and asked them if we could help. Soon, someone else had come out with a shovel, then more, then more. By the time we reached the bottom of our hill, there were 20 people working together.

My back was starting to get sore, so Matt encouraged me to take a break and start learning more about our new friends. Most of them were from Mexico, Honduras, or El Salvador. We got to talking, and soon we’d been invited to dinner along with the rest of our makeshift crew.

The family hosting had set up a long table in their garage, and there we sat eating tacos and practicing our Spanish. It was three hours later that we walked back up our hill. But we had changed. We’d experienced a sort of “Lord’s Supper” at that table. Many of our neighbors talked about the importance of community, and a sense of being there for one another and sharing in life together. It was church, without a doubt. What ‘s the lesson? I guess if baptisms can happen in rivers instead of baptismals, then communion can happen in garages instead of sanctuaries.

Sometimes we just need to step out with open hearts and minds and accept an invitation from God—who can call to us in the sound of scraping shovels on the street or in a kind invitation to eat some tacos.”

Pat Pickett, OblSB

Photo: Ermie (left) and Matt on their wedding day