Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Dear People of God at Ebenezer,

“Won’t you be my neighbor? ”

As I write this we have just concluded our annual South Carolina Synod Assembly. The theme this year was “Joining God in the Neighborhood.” Nearly every aspect of this year’s assembly challenged our voting members to think about how we are called to join what God is doing in our neighborhoods. We spent time in large and small groups talking about public education, racial reconciliation, and economic justice. A large delegation of Lutheran pastors from the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church reminded us of the amazing width and depth of our neighborhood. One of our afternoon activities was to watch the documentary about the remarkable life and ministry of Fred Rogers, whose theological vision of community and neighborhood was truly ahead of its time. Isn’t this the question God is asking us, and asking us to ask each other? Won’t you be my neighbor?

Today I’m back in my office, in our neighborhood. I’m thankful for the diverse, vital and challenging neighborhood in which God has planted our congregation. It’s a very typical day here – one of our small groups is meeting in the parlor and a local service agency is using our dining room for a large meeting. I can hear the children from our upstairs program on the playground outside. Site preparation is going on at the Bull Street redevelopment area. Main Street is alive with activity. State government and USC are within walking distance, and our immediate four block radius is filled with all of the daily signs of our community’s brokenness and hopefulness. There are deep, rich and important ministries to be done here. Let’s continue to talk this summer about what God is calling us to do and be in our neighborhood.

In Christ’s Peace,
Pastor Paul