Love Your Neighbor

Love Your Neighbor

It used to be
The ones who lived close
In one’s village
Near one’s farm
Who used the same well
These were one’s neighbors

The others
The strangers
The different
The frightening
The not to be trusted
Lived over the hill
Beyond the horizon

Then
We grew
We came to see those
Of our county
Or region
Or nation
As our neighbors

We grew more
Learning to see
The imperishable soul
The divine image
In those far away
We learned
To weep
For the distant child-distended belly and hollow eyes
The flood victim-bedraggled/crushed by loss
The refugee-lost and bewildered

But
We also contracted
Shrunk
Became less

In the village
While the difference between
Rich
And
Poor
Was not great
The rich man knew his poor neighbor
The poor woman knew the rich one
All lived
Close
Cheek by Jowl
Knew each other
Face-to-face
Eye-to-eye
Knew each others’
Humanity
Infinite worth

Now
We congregate
With those like us
The wealthy need only see
(other than objects)
The wealthy
The poor may
Easily
Hate
The wealthy
Because they
Are them
The other

It used to be
We had to hear
The voices of those
Who differed from us
It used to be
In the tavern
Or the square
Or by the gate
Or outside the sanctuary
We had to
Hear
Listen
Take into account
Consider
The crazy opinions of
Our neighbors
We had to find
Common ground
Compromise
Because
How else
Could we live
Together

Now
Each need only
Hear
Listen to
To
Mirrors of his opinion
Her stand
We need never entertain the thoughts
The arguments
That are
Alien to us
Different form ours
I have my news
They have theirs
And if facts
Are causalities
And truth
Bleeds unseen
What does it matter?
I am not discomforted.
My neighbors are now
Those like me
The others
Like their opinions
Are alien

And now
Those who I see as my neighbor
Are like me
It is easy to love them
As myself
For
They are so like me
Sensing that
We are made in the image of
The Holy
We envision
The Holy
To be
Like this
Common Image
We confirm our ideas
Our prejudices
Our opinions
By
This idol
We have
Made.
Better we should
Grind it up
And
Eat
Its dust.

Come
Says The Holy
Let us reason together
Go
Reason together
Expand once more
Grow again
Learn to recognize
To see
To reach to touch
The imperishable
Inner core of light
Holiness
Truth
That lies in each one
Not just those we have drawn around us
A comfort to keep us
Unperturbed
Let us be rattled
Let us be shaken
Challenged
required to think
Forced to
Common ground

Only when you see
“Ah
All
All
Are made in the image of G-D
All are my neighbors”
Can you begin
To fully grow
To begin
To become
What we are each
Meant to be.

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