“Into Good” ( Romans 15: 2, WYC ) by Carley Evans

English: Floodwaters isolate neighbours across...
English: Floodwaters isolate neighbours across the street at Bayswater, Milton, 1890. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul and Jesus speak often of brothers, but also of neighbours. Brothers, I presume, are fellow believers. Neighbours may or may not be Christians. Yet, Paul writes to the church at Rome:

Each of us please to his neighbour in good [into good], to edification.”

So we are to please our neighbours — whether or not they are believers — and we are to please them “into good, to edification.” We are called “to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge;” to “uplift, enlighten, and inform.” Edification implies speaking to our neighbours, but I speak little to most of my neighbours. How about you?

I know the family to my left very well. The house behind me — I see them once in a blue moon in their yard. The people on my right, I wave to and speak with on occasion. The couple across from me — now and then. One house on my street stands completely empty – a sign of the economic times. I just met the man at the very end of my street, and I’ve lived here more than fifteen years! My neighbours are essentially strangers with the exception of the three men next door: an elderly man and his two grown sons. I eat with them often!

But, do I edify them?

“My Brisk Walk” by Carley Evans

Last night, under the threat of a thunderstorm, I briskly walked with one of my best friends and her cousin around my neighborhood. The air was filled with humidity while being totally still — as it is before a tornado. Also, the temperature was cooler than the day had been.

We walked quickly, noting how dark the houses seemed. We strolled into and then out of several cul-de-sacs, talking all the while on all sorts of topics: from raspberries to colleges to religion to the benefits of walking for at least thirty minutes after meals to sex offenders to our children — our conversation of topics oddly mixed like vegetables in a tossed salad.

Later, I slept like a baby.