Neighbours: Letter from the Editor

Illustration,  Julie Kraulis

Illustration, Julie Kraulis

I parked on Carlton, just past the dog park in Allan Gardens, and grabbed two large boxes from my trunk. I had a few things to deliver to the church. After ten or twelve blind paces—the heavy boxes obstructed my view—I realized I could not carry them alone. 

“Are you going to the church?” a voice behind me asked. “Can I help you carry one of those?” 

I turned. The woman’s face was freckled, friendly. “Would you? I think I’ve attempted the impossible here.”

She slid the top box into her arms. Serendipitously, it was full of invitations to our November 16th Neighbours event. We walked alongside each other in a spitting rain, and for all the brevity of our conversation, I learned that she used to live on the Danforth, had intended to settle on the west end. Unexpectedly, she fell in love with the Victorian houses in Cabbagetown. Moved into the neighbourhood. Hoped to stay.

Just beyond the entrance of the church, she set down the box on the tiled floor of the church’s new foyer, still dusty from the ongoing renovations. “Thanks again,” I offered before she disappeared into the street. 

One small kindness, one lightened load. Gifts from a neighbour. In this special edition of Imprint, we’ve hoped to explore the theme of neighbourliness. As we celebrate the occasion of moving into our new neighbourhood, we’re asking: who are our neighbours? How can we as a church be good neighbours? 

What is the story that God is writing in this place? 

When Jesus preached the good news of his kingdom, he often told stories, or parables. These parables illustrated spiritual truths with things from the ordinary and everyday. In one of his most famous parables, The Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus issued a charge of love to all who would follow him. Be a neighbour, he said. 

It’s the simplest command—and also the hardest. Because even though we’re all wounded travellers on this treacherous road called life, too often, despite the evidence of our injuries, we hurry us past one another. Fear prevents us from stopping. Self-importance prevents us from stooping down. If we’re honest, we can lack the good will to really see one another.

The pages issue an important invitation to every reader. Stop. Stoop down. See.

And most importantly, remember another story—and a greater Neighbour. The Man-God, Jesus of Nazareth, born to peasant parents, betrayed by his friends, and according to eyewitness accounts, raised from the dead. That’s a story considered implausible by many moderns, but it’s still very relevant to our longings today—

For a small kindness in a spitting rain. 

And a place to call home.

— Jen Michel