FAITH on Saturday
STEVE BUTTON, of Queensberry Street Baptist Church, Old Basford, discusses neighbourliness
IREAD an article recently in the Evening Post about Shirley and Richard Cooper, a couple from Bulwell who were being praised by their community for their good neighbourliness. Local people spoke about their willingness to help out in collecting pensions for those too frail to go out, doing the weekly shop or fetching prescriptions and putting out wheelie bins.
This got me thinking about how it’s good to live alongside considerate neighbours, and how we can all help to ease some of the stresses and strains of daily life. Simple things can really brighten our day and make us feel part of a wider community. Good neighbours, however small they may consider their acts of kindness, improve our quality of life.
Nottingham has a famous son who looked out for his neighbours in William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. Born in Sneinton in 1829, he moved to London and was led to set up hostels and employment centres to help those in need. Here was a man who saw a need and stepped in to bring help and light, and who improved the lives of many.
In modern times we have the Street Pastors, who work in the city at night, helping those who are “the worse for wear” to get home safely after a night on the town. They selflessly give up their time to tend to the vulnerable and those in need. As a result, our streets are a little safer at night for those who could get into more trouble.
Being a good neighbour also models behaviour to our children and encourages them to see a world beyond their own front door. To be fair, many children are very good “neighbours” to each other at school; they look out for each other, save a seat for their best friends, generally disapprove of bullying and so on.
We talk about being good Samaritans to our neighbours. This is from a bible story that has become part of our daily language. In the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus talks about a man who was beaten and robbed and left for dead by the side of the road.
After several people passed him by without stopping to help, finally a man from Samaria stopped to tend to him.
The story is being told in response to a question posed by one of the religious leaders – “Who is my neighbour?”. In this well-known story we often miss out the fact that in those days, a Samaritan was considered an enemy to the people of the region!
The Samaritan sacrificed his dignity and his own personal safety in that culture, to help someone in need. Shirley and Richard Cooper would probably say it’s no sacrifice at all and they do it out of love for their neighbours. Likewise, Jesus sacrificed himself for us – he is the ultimate model of good neighbourliness.