David and I agreed with each other yesterday — this summer is whizzing by so fast! It’s mid-July already, which reminded me to check in with all of you about how your $50 “living neighborly” projects are going! In early May, we sent every family home from worship with a $50 bill to go and “live neighborly” with it, to do so by the end of August, and then to tell us about what you did by sending the story of your $50 (and any pictures are an added bonus!) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Since then, many of you have shared with me ideas and endeavors! I’ve heard about meals with neighbors, mixers and tea parties on your street, opportunities to get to know better the folks you encounter in your everyday life, you name it! You all have caught the neighborly spirit in a major way, and it is making an impact on yourselves, your community, your neighborhood, and your church.
My family’s $50 neighborly projects are still in the process of unfolding, but I wanted to give you a mid-summer update about what we’re doing). Our first goal was to create a more welcoming presence on our house’s highly-trafficked corner. Our across-the-street neighbor, Shelley, has inspired us! We’ve watched countless folks stop and take a turn in her tree swing, grab water and dog treats for their pups, and take a rest on her bench. So we wondered — what if we could plant an herb garden right out in the front yard and encourage our neighbors to cut and take some for their own use? Ever the clever wordsmith, Josh coined this idea “Herbs at the Curb,” and we got to planting! As of this week, our herbs have finally grown well, and we’re now ready to post up a sign for folks to start cutting! We’ve already met and chatted with a number of our neighbors in the process, so I consider it a win, regardless of how our herbs do!
You also might remember that I told a story not too long ago in a sermon about the Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia who posted in their church yard a sign in Spanish, Arabic, and English that read “No matter where you’re from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor!” Since then, the idea has caught on, and these signs dot yards all across the country. One is now in our front yard too!
We’re not done yet with our summer projects — still need to put up an invitation to get herbs and hoping to host a neighborhood mixer in September too — but our hope is that these neighborly gestures continue to invite us ever deeper into relationships with God’s children who surround our home. So go forth and live neighborly! (And send your stories to email@example.com — we’ll share them in a wide way come September!)
Together in the work of Love,