Thursday, June 11, 2009

Not-So-Near Neighbors

On any given day, many of us spend our time with a limited number of people. Families. Friends. Co-workers, customers, those who serve us, those we serve. Some of us encounter crowds of strangers but really only talk with a few. The people we meet regularly we might call our neighbors. Even if they don't live next door, they're the ones who we interact with. Its those "near neighbors" who see us and hear us. They're the ones we usually think of, pray for, know by name and care about. When we don't see them for awhile, we notice that they're not around.

Tomorrow Nate & Sarah Bendorf, John & Nancy Buschel and I will go to Gustavus Adolphus College for a gathering of "not-so-near neighbors" at the ELCA's Southwestern Minnesota Synod Assembly. When we arrive we'll register, get nametags, and be with lots of people we haven't met before. We have some things in common--all being members of the ELCA in Southwestern Minnesota... but, chances are, some of those we meet we'll not see again in this life.

So why go? Why care? The amount of actual influence that any one person, or our group of 5, can actually have is quite small in that large gathering. It is good, however, for us to pay attention to what goes on in the wider world. As I wrote last year when I went to the, what happens in the "big church" does influence us. One of the big reasons to go to the assembly is to learn what is going on and how that might affect us, our near neighbors, and the rest of the world Jesus died to save.

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