Viewpoint from Matt Ashpole 01/10/2021
Youth Work Leader at Identity Youth Project
Love your neighbour
I wonder when you last spoke to your neighbour. Perhaps you get on well, maybe you even pop over occasionally? It’s quite possible too that you don’t know their names or try to avoid them at all costs. We all have different neighbours. Some will be pleasant and kind whilst others, well… not so much!
In the context of Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), is Jesus merely telling us to love the people next door? Let’s be honest, just doing that can sometimes be quite a challenge! But who is Jesus really asking us to love? The original word which we translate as neighbour is the Greek word ‘plēsíon’. This word refers to any other person, irrespective of race or religion with whom we live or those we may meet (i.e., everyone!)
I’m sure you would agree, that if love permeated our society a little more and in turn the world, then this place we currently inhabit would be a much more positive place to be
Can you imagine what our communities could look life if we all embodied this command just a little more? Of course, this is a challenge for us all and it starts with the man or woman in the mirror
Throughout the summer I had the pleasure of leading a group of young people in a social action project, which we call LYN. This stands for ‘Love Your Neighbour’. The team visited local churches to offer a helping hand with maintenance and the general upkeep of their grounds. In previous years we have ventured to residents’ houses, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic we made the decision to volunteer in more expansive, outdoor locations
It was incredibly encouraging to see the young people getting stuck in to help their community. They carried out various jobs from weeding to painting, cleaning car parks to pruning trees. They did such a great job and chose to use their free time to make a huge difference!
Personally, I feel there is a lot to be learned by their enthusiasm in helping where they could and freely giving up their time to make a positive difference
We all have gifts and talents, that we could utilise to benefit others within our own spheres of influence. Will you join the young people in taking whatever next step is necessary, in doing so?
top photo courtesy of Brian Philpott
photos of project work courtesy of Matt Ashpole
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