I attended a planning group for Neighbours day 2001 - to be held on 26-27 March. It is simply awesome - the idea of thousands of people all over New Zealand being given cakes, cookies, or jam by strangers who live just across the road; or invited to a BBQ to spend time with people they've said a passing 'hello' to hundreds of times but know nothing about. www.neighboursday.org.nz
We need to re-neighbourhood or re-communitise the places where we live, work and play. People are lonely, isolated and lost simply because they rarely enjoy genuine relationship. This day is not about big events, programmes or organisations, but about individuals and families befriending those around them.
There is something profoundly Jesus-like about this. He frequently ignored crowds and focussed on individuals. In an age where big is always best, where the best churches are the largest ones, and the most successful ministers those who attract the mass followings, I suspect Jesus is calling his followers away from the crowds, structures and strategies with all their fame, glory and superficiality, to be present instead with the humble, lowly and irrelevant, for there we will find Christ Himself.
Although Neighbours Day is non political and non religious, I was thrilled to find followers of Jesus at the heart of it, quietly, gently serving in order to transform this nation. I think Jesus was pleased too.
13 hours ago