Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving Our Neighbor

Mark 12:31

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment outsiders greater than these.”

Life ChangeI just left the home of a farmer in South County. His mom is nearing the end of this life. As we sat and talked – names were being mentioned that I remember from my time living and serving in SoCo. We talked about folks that I have known my whole life. Names that ring true in Southern Anne Arundel County lore. It was good to talk about them – some now with Jesus and some still with us. Many of them were my neighbors at one time or attended the church I served or simply lived in SoCo when I did.

Neighbors – at least old school neighbors – in SoCo – would be there and some still are – whatever comes our way. I’ve seen farmers harvest crops for a neighbor when health or personal concerns impacted their ability to do it themselves. I’ve seen brothers working side-by-side. I’ve seen three and four generations working a farm together. I’ve witnessed neighbors that didn’t really know one another come to the aid of one another. I remember the way it used to be – and in some ways – still.

I remember talking to some old-timers – nearly 40 years ago – about how life changed in SoCo when the new bridge was built. I think it was completed in 1982 or 83 (36-37 years ago). South County changed when it was easier to get to the beaches and farmland below the South River Bridge – just miles from Annapolis (the original bridge was two lanes and narrow – built in the early 1930’s). The comments went like this – once I got my corner of South County – I hoped no one else would come south. But south many came. I remember driving a church bus from Annapolis to West River Church camp over that old bridge. It wasn’t very safe. A truck coming the other way – meeting my bus – was always an adventure. Many mirrors were lost on that bridge. Along with a lot of outsiders – South County grew. Many of the outsiders – and I’m one of them to a degree (even though I was raised in SoCo as a child – I lived in Annapolis for my High School and College days) – came to find their portion of SoCo. I returned to SoCo in the 80’s and have lived here ever since.

All of this has been remembered so I can write about being a good neighbor – about loving our neighbors – even as we love ourselves. Jesus was asked for the greatest commandment – and the second was today’s passage. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Mark 12:28–34 – 28 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?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

We can all be good neighbors or at least better neighbors. Showing love to one another is what Jesus said was one of the great commandments. Loving God and loving one another sums up all ten of the commandments. How about joining me – as we try to love one another more! Let’s treat one another with love – like we would expect from others – or as we would expect from Christ Himself.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

May 6, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks, Ray. A nostalgic post, but I came from northern AA Co. Lived within sight of the inner harbor, Baltimore, in Linthicum Heights, the highest point in the county. It was thoroughly suburban in the 1959(s) and on. Still, we were all from somewhere else but we made northern county our home, too. My family lived there from 1950 to 2005. Although I live in Hanover, PA. now, Linthicum Heights will still always be my home of origin. When my mom and dad were hit by a drunk driver in 1964, the Methodist church we attended helped out our family of six children for several months. Thank you once again for a thoughtful exposition of being a neighbor and finding “home” on a visit with a south country native. 🙂


    Comment by Favorite Son | May 6, 2019 | Reply

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