I am currently reading Mark Scandrette's book Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life together in the Kingdom of Love. It is a great book with lots of very practical suggestions on how to follow Jesus in every part of our lives. Mark talks a lot about the physicality of spiritual formation. This is a book about putting our faith into action in simple practical ways that are well within reach for all of us.
I particularly enjoy Mark's "experiments" where he and friends read the gospels asking the question: How does what Jesus did and taught connect with the real circumstances of our lives and the needs of our world?"
Such a great question that all of us need not just to ask more frequently, but also put into action. I love the practical way that this translates into actions. For example when Mark was a child his father would have them grapple with questions like "Let's think who our neighbors are. What can we do to love them?" Listen to Mark tell the story:
Together we would generate a list of ideas to enact over the coming weeks: Invite neighbour Joe over for dinner. Shovel snow for the elderly couple down the block. Welcome a friend from school whose family is in crisis to spend the weekend at our house. One memorable holiday season my parents created a project to help us learn how to bless our neighbors. Over several nights we made Christmas decorations and cookies and then went door to door distributing them with an invitation to come to a holiday party. A few weeks later our home was full of neighbors, many of whom were meeting for the first time. The party really brought the neighborhood together, and I still remember the excitement of being a part of something bigger than myself.
I love this idea of taking the scriptures and translating them into concrete actions. I have asked Mark to contribute some guest posts on his book that should help broaden this discussion, but my question for today is, What would it look like in your neighborhood to love your neighbors? What are small practical things that you could do to be the love of Jesus to friend and stranger alike? Watching this video may help you make some decisions:
Christine Sine is executive director of Mustard Seed Associates and author of several books including GodSpace: Time for Peace in the Rhythms of Life. She describes herself as a contemplative activist encouraging a way of life that interweaves spiritual practices with concern for justice and environmentalism. This blog first appeared on her personal blog GodSpace.