Now It Is Possible to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

Jesus taught that the key instruction of the Bible is “You will love your neighbor as yourself.” In response to Jesus’ teaching came the famous question, “Who is my neighbor?” We are still asking that question. Kierkegaard said, “My neighbor is everyone I meet without exception.” In the world today where the world is woven together in economics, environmental issues, and communication, my neighbor is everyone in the world without exception. This morning during prayer, I was thinking of all the divisions in the world today, the wars and hatred, the greed and economic disparity, the exploitation of the weak and poor, the domination of women. I was thinking about the destruction of the earth, especially in areas where the people are poor. There is not much empathy for the dominated, exploited and abused in places where we do not live. We hear about them once in a while, but we do not to think much about Gaza and the Congo and even Appalachia. We get the materials needed for our cell phones from Congo, and we are politically connected to the state of Israel, and Appalachia supplies coal to provide us with electricity. It is stressful to consider the suffering that our ideology and consumption causes in the world. I wrote a statement during that time of prayer this morning: “There is one nation, the world. There is one home, the earth. There is one race, the human race. There is one family, humanity.”

 

What does this have to do with MBMM?

 

MBMM is helping the churches to understand this truth, to put this complex instruction of Jesus into practice. MBMM counts all of the diversity of The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts and their mission field as its field of operation. Its desire is to work with all its partners to “Weave God’s Love across Cultures.” Its desire is together with the churches and its partner organizations to set out to win the world to ”You will love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

MBMM reminds me that there is a covenant program in love of neighbor. MBMM is developing covenant communities that are modeling this love. A big part of MBMM’s mission is bringing together conversation and action groups of people of diverse cultures, ideologies, theological and political points of view, ages. The idea is that as we set out to win the world to “You will love your neighbor as yourself”, we model this possibility. A Hebrew of Jesus’ day would have heard what we translate as “You will love your neighbor as yourself” as “Now it is possible for you to love your neighbor as yourself”. MBMM is seeking to realize and bear witness to that possibility.

That is why I love MBMM and support this beautiful ministry.

Michael Harvey