Art of Neighborliness

written by Bryan Gower



The season of Advent is upon us once again. For those from the Christian tradition, this is a time to prepare for the coming of the Messiah – a deliverer, who would fulfill the long awaited promise to make all things new. We celebrate the coming of Christ in our retelling of the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace who brings good news for all people of the world that the Kingdom of God is with us. For the Christian, practicing steadfast love, justice and righteousness as Christ did, gives life.

As I think about this season of Advent, in what strikes me as a particularly troubled year marked by a growing economic isolation, increased reports of violence and political divisiveness, I wonder, ‘where are the signs that the Kingdom of God is with us?’ As a suburb dweller, it would be easy to allow the season to be nothing more than a tightrope walk between an obligatory religious observance and an opportunity to acquire more stuff because building community is time consuming. I am busy with My family, My work, My entertainment , My life – distractions from the problems in the world I cannot control. We risk becoming the Rich Young Rulers of our age, becoming ever more lonely and dissatisfied the more unwilling we are to care for our neighbor – the oppressed, the poor and the marginalized.

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