Our church sits next to the original building called, appropriately enough, The Little Stone Church. It is sometimes rented out for showers, weddings, other events. Last weekend it was rented for a craft show. I went over to introduce myself and the organizer said, “Oh, yes. I’ve heard all about you.” The next day I conducted a memorial service where I was introduced to someone from out of town. She said,“I’ve heard a lot about you”….Small Town Living
We live close enough to the church for me to walk to work. This week we had snow. As I walked to work, I encountered someone blowing snow off what I assumed was his driveway. I laughed and said, “I need to send you down the street to my house.” He said, “Where to you live?” Startled, I gave him my address. “You live two doors down from my mother,” he replied. I asked what he charged and he said, in a tone that bordered on embarrassment, “Oh, just whatever you want to pay me”…..Small Town Living.
The next day I went back to pay him. When I knocked at the door, to my amazement, Dick, a church member, answered. It turns out the snow blower is a neighbor, who blows off the snow and shovels the sidewalk for Dick in return for some of Dick’s home-grown vegetables…..Small Town Living.
I was told when I moved here that helping one’s neighbor is characteristic of this ranching and farming area. If a farmer or rancher has encountered some problem or disaster, neighbors help out, knowing next time it could easily be you. And you know that when your time comes, they will just as quickly come to your aid.
This awareness that we have some responsibility to others and that we engage in some mutual benefit by serving one another, seems to me to be lost in our current milieu. So much of what is wrong in the world, boils down to a person or group of persons or a corporation, deeming their needs or desires supersede anything or anyone else’s needs or desires.
Years ago I read the book The Navigator, a novel with detailed a group of people who decided to establish their own colony, with no rules. Anyone could do whatever they wanted. They discovered this was really untenable. There had to be some ground rules that made living together in community possible. Rugged individualism is one thing. To totally disregard the needs, rights and well-being of others is a totally different thing. May we seek always to be good neighbors and to cultivate community.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: If you google “Cultivating Community” you will find a group in Portland, Maine, organized to support ” teaching people sustainable farming practices and connecting them to the community through our food hub.” They “support and manage diverse urban growing spaces, enabling community members to grow their own food within city limits.” They also “increase access to local, healthy foods for low-income consumers, providing affordable produce through CSA shares, farm stands, and mobile markets.”