Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

What an unexpected surprise. Paul and I put up a ‘Blessed Ramadan’ sign from MN Council of Churches in our front yard on June 8th. I was unsure about what kind of feedback we’d receive from our neighbors, but I never expected this – the very next morning, our neighbor down the street inquired about where he could get one, too.

Here’s another story. After I signed up as pastor of Union church for the Elmwood neighborhood group, a very interesting story was posted about the ‘Blessed Ramadan’ signs.

“To the blonde woman in a green shirt who felt compelled to remove the sign in our yard that wished our Muslim neighbors a blessed Ramadan, I am saddened that you felt the need to do so. An unspeakable tragedy has taken place in Florida, but it is not the work of all Muslims. Ramadan is a month of fasting and prayer. Your grouping all Muslims into the terrorist category is small minded and far from peaceful.”

Dozens of people responded to this message with agreeable remarks, while another went to the Council of Churches office and purchased a dozen signs to deliver to her neighbors. Some people who couldn’t put a sign in their yard, printed one out and put it in their front windows. Many people replied that this was one of the reasons they love living in St. Louis Park. I agree… totally! Why? Because we are a community who can disagree with respect and compassion. Union church is very much like this and that’s why I love you, too!

When Jesus laid on us the greatest commandment, ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’ there were no cliff notes about it being easy, convenient, non-controversial, or even a bit daring. But it is. Loving people (not necessarily liking or agreeing with, etc.) is the hardest job we have been given. But it’s the ONLY way the world can be whole… the only way we will stop killing each other … the only way to co-create with God the kingdom on earth that God wills.

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