At our church, we talk a lot about loving on the people you are surrounded by. Knowing your co-workers and neighbors and showing them the love of Christ, living the Gospel out in front of them, and sharing what makes you different...living like the disciples lived!
Jeff and I have lived in our lovely house for over 3 years now. We love it, we love our neighborhood, love our immediate neighbors...but other than the neighbors to our left, right, and across the street, there were a lot of people that we don't know. It's silly, really. We wave as we drive by, but don't know their names or anything about them.
A few weeks ago, we decided that it was time to have a street party. A good ole fashioned neighborly summer cook out, get everyone together, and hang out! I love hosting get togethers, and was super excited about the idea! So I printed out little invites, and Jeff and I put on our friendly faces, and made our way up and down the street in the Texas heat and humidity, knocking on doors and making friends. We brought Jack along, thinking that we'd probably look a lot less scary strolling a baby than we would, just two random people, sweating to death, standing on your porch. The trip itself was a success, because we met a bunch of really friendly people, and everyone seemed really excited about the party!
Last Saturday was the big day...I put out extra flower pots, spent my life savings on citronella candles and OFF!, set out extra tables, unwrapped paper plates and flatware...and sat down to wait...ok, not really, I get kinda antsy before things happen, so I just walked around making sure the beer was cold enough or that we had enough limes. It's the important things, you know? :)Our Casey James fan of a neighbor showed up a little early, left her dessert, and went home to change for the party...LOVE!
We had a great turn out and had so much fun! About 20 neighbors showed up and had such a good time. Jeff cooked up hamburgers and hot dogs and everyone brought a side dish or dessert to share. The food was delicious and it was so nice to get to know everyone!
We also invited 2 young families that we know who don't technically live on our street, but still in the hood, so Jack could have some playmates. And play they did!! Can't you just picture these boys in about 7 years or so, riding their bikes to each other's houses to play? I love it!
The party was great, we really feel like we met so many nice people and were so glad to have the opportunity to love on our neighbors, and honestly can't wait to do it again. Jeff and I are also committed to not just allowing this to be a once and done type of thing...we're hoping to have another street party in the fall, and invite a neighbor over for dinner once a week or so to really build these relationships and live life together! It's funny, we've recieved 5 or 6 very sweet thank you notes in our mailbox this week...although it's in our sin nature to not really want to be known, in reality, it feels so good to be cared for.
The early church is the perfect picture of how we should live, reaching out to those around us, living together and loving each other. We pray that we can become more of a picture of what that looks like in 2010.