‘”Honor everyone, and never do to another what you would not want done to yourself,” we read in the Rule. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” we read in the Gospel.’
This quote from page 84 of A Good Neighbor is a summery of what it is to live in community. To be a neighbor, to be present to those to whom we have been given, and to those who have been given to us. We need to remember the simplicity of this, and Robert Benson helps us to see the simplicity in all of it’s glorious complexities.
Benson looks at the many communities he lives in and then works through the frame work of Benedict’s Rule for living together in community. Even though we are not monastic we can still learn from the Rule and live in the Spirit in the communities we have been placed.
Benson helps us work through our longing for community, a need for us to be humble in every aspect and moment of our lives, showing us the need for mercy and how it is better to give mercy than receive it. Benson also helps us see how we seek the community that we fit into, rather then welcoming those who have been given to us. He then wraps up his discussion by reminding us we truly show God’s love through our humble acts of caring for the other, and that is why we are here, for the other.
This book is a wonderful short read that reminds us that living in community and being a good neighbor is easy in concept, but hard in execution. However if we focus on the simple and allow ourselves to be humble, merciful, and focused on the other, it will be easier than we thought it would.