This month’s series is about discovering our neighbours, and recognizing who else is on our street. Normally we see the world split up into 6 billion different streets, each marked appropriately: Right and wrong; right and left; Christian and unbeliever; heterosexual and homosexual; leader and follower; wicked and righteous. But what if instead of separating us, these categories affirm that we really all live on the same block? Once we realize we are neighbours and not strangers, it is a lot easier to leave our homes at night, we aren’t so worried anymore.
God hasn’t reduced our humanity and lives to a simple decision of picking one side of the fence or the other, but it seems like every chance we get we want this to be the case. Rain falls on both sides of the fence.
This same struggle is played out in the book of Job. An innocent man is under great distress as his life falls apart all around him. His friends come out from the woodwork to try and help him understand the calamity he is in. Through these conversations, all sorts of interesting things are discovered. Journeying with Job, his friends are unable to deal with the seeming contradiction: How can he be innocent and yet still all these terrible things happen to him? So they try and re-write his story for him. They are convinced by the end of the story that maybe Job isnt’t their neighbour after all. Maybe he lives on a different street, and that street is full of wicked people that do wicked things. Its inconceivable to see good happening to one neighbour and bad happening to another, so their only known option is to re-write the story to proclaim that they were never neighbours.
God, however, eventually steps in and sets the record straight. “You’re all living on the same street!” he says. “Humanity is in this struggle together. Stop trying to put your neighbours house up for sale and embrace whatever comes, whatever is. Leave the city planning to me.”