I think there is some risk in thinking there is a magic formula that will enable us to know every detail about the people who live in our community. We become lured into the belief that if we just change this one thing about the way we function or program, everything will be fixed and we will live in perfect relationship and harmony with our neighbors.
But I wonder instead, if relationships in ministry, especially with those who are not a part of our faith communities, are a lot like caring for orchids. We say hello every week or so. Sometimes we miss a week or two. We ask questions about our local barista’s mother, or we shop locally and make a point of getting to know who lives next door. Maybe we leave our smartphones in the car when we shop or dine, or make the conscious decision to cut back from our Amazon.com purchases. And maybe, we have to see this as a necessary component of our faith, the need to be a part of a local neighborhood economy. But this does not mean that as a faith community we will see instant results or radical changes right away. That is what we can’t be lured into believing. I am however confident that from time to time, we will be absolutely amazed at the beauty that emerges. And this beauty will be well worth the gift.