Things to Think About in the Art of Neighboring - Week 3 - Reservoir Church
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Things to Think About in the Art of Neighboring – Week 3

May 2, 2016

 

Week 3 – 2016


Things to Think About In the Art of Neighboring

Mending Wall – Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.  The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.  It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
Why do they make good neighbors?  Isn’t it
Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’  I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself.  I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

 

Questions:
1.  What have your own experiences of walls been?  Are they walls that have been there for generations – long before you?  Walls that you’ve created?  Walls that have been set against you?

2.  “Good fences make good neighbors” is a phrase that has come out of this poem.  Although Robert Frost seems to challenge this sentiment.  What’s your take on this phrase?

3.  If “spring is the mischief” in you – what dialogues can you imagine as momentum in your neighboring?

 

Invitations:
1.  Pray for God to illuminate where walls might exist in your own life.

2.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you to the wall(s) with wisdom and humility.

3. Where engagement at the wall seems static, pray for the Holy Spirit to be the force that moves and breaks down the walls.

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Acts 8:26-39 (NIV)

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
   and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
   so he did not open his mouth.

33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
   Who can speak of his descendants?
   For his life was taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37]  38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Questions:
1.  As you read this scripture – where do you find yourself?  Do you identify with the character of Philip?  Do you identify with the Ethiopian Eunuch?

2.  What do you glean from seeing Philip and the eunuch intersect at their walls?  How can this help in your own navigation of neighboring around walls?

3.  Philip baptizing the eunuch seems like a pivotal shift that will invoke change for generation of followers of Jesus to come.  In your own neighboring where do you see the potential for pivotal shifts?

Invitations:
1. Look for ways this week to hear your neighbors stories and personal narratives.

2. In listening to these stories and narratives ask the Holy Spirit to show you opportunities to partner with your neighbors.

3.  If it feels like “desert” in your efforts of neighboring – ask God to show you where the water is for “refreshment” and hope.

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Isaiah 53:10(b) MSG
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.    
And
God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

 

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” – Jewish Talmud
Questions:
1. In Isaiah 53 we see that life, life and more life will extend through Jesus’ legacy in all of us.   How does this resonate with you?  Specifically as you consider neighboring this week?

2. How does the phrase from the Jewish Talmud, “Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now.”, look in your own neighboring relationships?  Is this a challenge to consider?  Do you feel like these elements are components currently?

3. How does being a partner with God’s great work in our neighboring  – feel for you as you think about engaging with those around you?
Invitations:
1.  This week ask Jesus to show you how his legacy of life will bring neighboring relationships that haven’t started or are lying dormant to life in your community!

2.  Ask God for eyes of justice, mercy and humbleness in your interactions with neighbors.

3.  Ask God to lead you to areas of your neighbors lives that may have been abandoned in the past.  And ask Him to show you the best way to engage in the work of building this piece up.

*****************************************************************************Neighboring Map – Invitation:  
The first week we used the Neighboring Map as a way to pray for Jesus’ generosity to drip into our neighborhoods.  Last week we used the map as a way to learn neighbor’s names.  *This week use the Neighboring Map to find out something more about your neighbor, beyond an observable fact.  Ask God to break open opportunities for intersection and conversation.
block map jpg