Thursday, June 5, 2008

Look for a Neighbor

I just watched Snowcake starring Sigourney Weaver as an adult woman with autism. The movie is quirky in a Canadian way. It is an portrayal of autism updated from Rainman to be sure. Some scenes I love, like the one above.  They capture the glimmers of genius which those who look find. It speaks of forgiveness, redemption, and hope. The ending unknowingly illustrates a Biblical principle of neighborly love. Though she is reluctant and unappreciated for it, Maggie chooses to serve her neighbor with autism by taking out her trash--her most dreaded task. As far as I can tell, the story is fictional. 

The Collector of Bedford Street is true. This award winning documentary by Alice Elliott about her own neighborhood is an even better example of what the Bible calls us to do and how we are to do it--joyfully! Larry's neighbors care and take action using their gifts (financial planning and filmmaking) to provide a secure future for him. Larry is mentally disabled and also has gifts of his own (compassionate persistent philanthropy) which he employs for the benefit of society. Enjoy the trailer below and the clever website which is complete with discussion guides for your church or faith group and a street map of Larry's neighbors . 

I miss New York.  We had a neighbor who took us pleasantly by surprise when we first moved into a brownstone in Brooklyn Heights.  Jean Anderson was her name and I met her when our mail got confused. My maiden name was Anderson.  We sorted that out and would talk in the laundry room while she prepared for a ski trip (she was a sprightly 80 something)! In short order, I was invited up for sherry after work. She was intentional about neighboring which was not what we expected as newcomers to Cranberry Street. In hindsight it is more the norm in NYC than it is in Southern California. Alice and Larry are another case in point.

I am hearing the lyrics of our old favorite song off Karen Henley's Beginner's Bible audio CD and her Good Samaritan videotape: "Look for a neighbor, he will be the one, always standing by your side, when the day is done."  Autism Street blogger talks about a neighbor he learned a lesson from.  What have you learned from one of your neighbors?  And what have you done for one of them lately?

Love your neighbor as yourself...Which of these do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him. Luke 10:28-36

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:26-27

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-11

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