In this hot weather, with doors and windows open, neighbours are more noticeable. A little friction occurred between two of my neighbours when they reacted to the others noise, one of a loud child, the other of a loud dog! Learning patience and practicing tolerance are both necessary when the heat makes us uncomfortable.
The World Cup is throwing up some interesting combinations of countries. Perhaps it is helping us to realise that neighbours are not only literally next door, but can be from anywhere on the planet. Despite the competitive basis of the event there is a lot of friendship being shown and appreciation of the skills of footballers from around the world. Being partisan and appreciative of the other team are not mutually exclusive.
The other big issue facing Britain is how we will relate to our European neighbours in the future. This has exposed sharp differences and divisions of opinion, and some racism. Attitudes towards neighbours from other countries are revealed in words used to describe them. ‘Immigrants’ has taken in a more pejorative edge it seems. Instead of welcoming the gifts and experience of neighbours some see them as threatening.
The policies introduced by President Trump, Prime Minister May and some of the European Leaders appear designed to foster hostility towards those who want to enter a place of apparent safety and prosperity. Borders have become a place of confrontation rather than a door through which a welcome can be found.
This hostility has been vociferously opposed by thousands who prefer a more welcoming and accepting approach to those who seek refuge and a better life when there is violence and poverty in their own country.
Jesus taught that we should love our neighbours and told the story of the Good Samaritan to show that neighbours are not just those who are like you but include strangers and foreigners. In fact it was the foreigner who was the neighbour to the one in need.
It may be easy to love neighbours who respect our personal space but when we are threatened because people come too close we make borders and boundaries to separate us from them.
When the red kites fly over my house the crows mob them and chase them away because they are seen as a threat. We sometimes behave in the same way.
What would it be like to live in a world without borders, and populated with only neighbours?