She knocks on my door and I groan, not wanting to let her in because word on the street is that she’s crazy, and truth be told she is a little strange. I don’t want to spend the time to talk to her, she didn’t even tell me she was driving over here and I figured that if she drove all the way over here that I should humor her. Never mind that Jesus says to love my neighbor as myself, and although she isn’t technically my neighbor, as in, she doesn’t live in my neighborhood, I know that Jesus didn’t mean just my geographical neighbors.
Here’s where being Episcopalian gets real, and can be hard.Just this past Sunday, and the one before that, and the one before that, and, well, you get the picture, I knelt and confessed that I had not loved my neighbors as myself. This coming Sunday I’m going to do the same thing. I intend to love my neighbors as myself, but I don’t. I don’t want to be bothered with the young lady at the door because I feel like I have better things to do than spend some time with a lonely woman created in God’s image. Except that that’s what God wanted me to do at that moment, and I don’t want to.
While I’m answering the door I remember my prayer saying that I am truly sorry and that I humbly repent. If that means anything, it needs to mean something now. I open the door and let the young woman in. I still don’t want to but I remember my promise to repent, and that means that if I’m truly repentant that I’m going to at least give this loving my neighbor thing a good shot.
This isn’t a story with a happily ever after ending, because although I now am aware of my failures in loving my neighbors, I still don’t always do it as much as I try. I still fail at loving my neighbor as myself even though I’m trying to be more mindful to do so. I still dread her knock on my door, but not as much as I used to. I’m willing to give her a little of my time these days, but I’m always relieved when I have something else that I just have to do. Which means I’m trying but I’m not doing that great.
True repentance means trying to do differently the next time. This Episcopal thing can be hard because I say hard things and then have to put action behind my words. But I think that in trying to put action behind my words, it gets me a little closer to what Jesus wants me to do, and brings a little more of the Kingdom of God to earth.