FAITH on Satur­day

STEVE BUT­TON, of Queens­berry Street Bap­tist Church, Old Bas­ford, dis­cusses neigh­bourli­ness

Nottingham Post - - OPINION -

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.

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