Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love Thy Neighbor (not thy moustache)

This Valentine's Day I was awakened by Gus putting some potted tulips on my face, yes on my face, and Max shouting "Happy Valentine's Day!" while thrusting a heart-shaped balloon at me.

I was also greeted by this:

Uh...not exactly the most romantic wake up of my life, to say the least.

The day improved, however, when we decided that on this day of love we would teach our children about loving our neighbors. Mark and Gus headed to Top Pot Doughnuts while Max and I worked on some handmade valentines.

We read Mark 12: 28-31
"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

We talked about what it means to love your neighbor and also what it means to be the Church, as opposed to thinking of the church as a place that we go. We prayed for all the people on our street and asked God to bless them. Then we knocked on their doors and handed out our doughnuts & cards.

What we didn't anticipate was how this small act of love would open people up to share what is going on in their lives. We learned that one of our neighbors had recently had a seizure so severe he stopped breathing. One family just welcomed a new little baby into their home, while another is splitting up and preparing to sell their house since neither person can afford to keep it on their own. Another house was vacant with a sign saying it was now bank-owned.

We were saddened by much of what we learned but grateful that we were given the opportunity to know how to pray more specifically for our neighbors. People were genuinely surprised and delighted that we would want to do this for them and it certainly made an impression on the boys. Gus spent the rest of the morning playing "love your neighbor" by pretending to knock on doors and hand Mark and I various items from his play kitchen.

I love Valentine's Day and while in this season of life it may not be all romance and feet-sweeping, it was one of the best and most memorable to date.

And in case you're wondering...as an act of love, the moustache was gone by morning.

1 comment:

Zach said...

I can't see the photo!