Four Way Faith Part Four - Out: Our Obligations to Our Neighbours. When someone cries out “I can’t breathe” we are called to listen, to learn and to be the ones who play our part in bringing freedom and life where there is suffocation and death. This applies across race, gender, age, sex, disability, martial or civil partnership status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity. We must stand alongside those whose voice gets shut out and until justice rolls down like water and righteousness life an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24) we must not stay silent because there can be no peace where there is no justice.
Four Way Faith Part Three - Out: God's Gift of Neighbours. We must follow Jesus’ example with Zacchaeus to accept the hospitality of those who different from ourselves, who others look down upon and speak ill of, even those who cause harm to others. Through accepting the gift of others we break down barriers and our lives, others lives and the kingdom of God benefit. When new people move into the houses, streets and towns around us (even our churches) it can be tempting to complain about change, to reflect on the way things used to be, or the people we used to see. Our challenge as Christian’s is to have the view of seeing the outsiders, the others, our neighbours as gifts, welcoming and accepting the gift they are and the gifts they bring.
There is a fairly common expression of Christian relationships that speaks of three dimensions - Up to God, In to the church, and Out to the unbelieving world. I think this provides a useful summary of Christian community which I hope to unpack in future posts; but I have come to realise at least one axis is missing.