Loving God and loving our neighbours is an adventure! Our Neighbourhood Service Weekend is a great opportunity to step into that. At Albright we believe in the value of ‘walking across the room’ to get to know people and to love as Christ loves us. It is a privilege to bless people in ways that demonstrates God’s amazing grace. It is also a faith step to be open to what God wants to do in and through us.
Not having a usual Sunday Morning Service radically reminds us about the high value God’s calls us to serve. We can become so comfortable with the rhythms of life that we forget that God wants us to connect with our neighbours. Sunday morning worship should be a reflection and celebration of a life devoted to God and to loving others. Our vision for that weekend is to help us re-focus and re-engage with God’s calling to love our neighbours. Taking the time to pray about what God would have you do, and then doing it, will lift our Sunday morning worship times to a whole new level.
We are purposely freeing up time on the weekend of June 6th – 8th to provide space and encourage intentional serving. Of course, you can serve your neighbours anytime; it doesn’t have to be during the exact time of Albright’s usual Sunday Service. There is a sense of fellowship in knowing that we are allowing God to challenge us together in this area, but the timing is completely up to you.
Who is my neighbour? The simple answer is: anyone and everyone we connect with in life. They are not just people who live on our street, but those we encounter in our workplace, at school, through activities and sports, even those who provide a service to us. Our neighbours are people we may not even have met yet.
If Sunday morning isn’t the ideal time to connect with neighbours you could use that time to walk around your neighbourhood, pray for your neighbours and be open to what God might reveal to you. You could go to a coffee shop and pray for what you see and be open for any conversations. Or, you could visit someone and bless them with a word, gift or action. The main thing is to be open to what God wants you to do, or might show you, as you step out in faith. This is as much about being with God and hearing Him as it is about what you do.
You don’t have to do something big. In fact, often loving and serving others begins with being willing to see and do the small things. Praying for your neighbours by name is a huge start. Introducing yourself or checking in to see how they are is a step. Being purposely open for ‘one minute more’ conversations is another great step. Asking God to reveal a need you can meet or a way that you can bless is a great step. Learning to listen and hear from God as to what is the next step is more important than the size of what you do.
The last thing we want to do is avoid making our neighbours a project. That is why what we do needs to come out of who we are in God and not any form of guilt. We are blessed to bless. We are freed by God’s love to love. That means we are still his children even if people do not respond in the way we think they should. It also means that we can leave the final outcome with God. Only he can change hearts. He simply calls us to love Him and others.
On Sunday Evening, June 8th at 6:30pm, we’ll be meeting at Albright for a Worship Celebration to praise God, to reflect on what we have been learning and to pray for our neighbours. This will be informal and is open to all ages. If that happens to be your planned time to meet with neighbours then you are free to do that. We are purposely keeping this celebration time simple to avoid any extra responsibilities on that day. So just come, bring the family, and enjoy the ice-cream and being together!
Pastor Sam Devine