This guest post is by Drew Smith, a pastoral associate at Christ Church.
We shared with you last week that in the months ahead we’ll have a focus on: “Love Where We Live”. In some ways, I think that sounds easy! We live in AUSTIN, right? Didn’t many of us come here because we love it? Don’t most of us want new people to stop moving here so we can continue to love it?
True enough, it isn’t so hard to enjoy living in Austin. But, loving where we live means more than that. I want to invite us to miss seeing the new food truck, but not miss seeing the new thing Jesus is doing in our neighborhood! Let’s let ourselves care less about how much traffic is increasing and care more about whether goodness and rightness and justice are increasing! Let’s forget how much our neighborhood is meeting our needs and celebrate finding a way we can be a part of meeting the needs of our neighbor!
That’s a different kind of love. And not one that comes as naturally as hiking the greenbelt. It’s the kind of love we only know because God has shown it toward us. But how do we grow into it? I think one important way is through prayer. When Jesus gave us the counterintuitive command to love our enemies, he paired it with instructions to pray for those who persecute us. Love and prayer go together. And the harder it is to love someone, the more we need to pray for them.