Sep 04th 2008

I was reading an article in the CDT about oil and gas prices.  Oil prices are hovering below $110/barrel.  The last time that oil prices were $100 a barrel, gas was under $3.30 a gallon!  What was interesting about the article was its analysis about one potential reason for the rise and current drop in the price of oil.  China — specifically the fact that China was stockpiling oil before the Olympics, just in case something happened with the power grid.  Now that the Olympics are over, they will be buy less oil as they use up the stockpile.

The first thought in my mind?  Isn’t it amazing how connected the world is today.  Olympics in China equals higher gas prices in State College.

The second thought in my mind?  My neighbor Bill.  Bill lived across the street, a few houses down.  An incredibly fascinating man, he was a nuclear physicist…I believe one of the first at PSU.  Over the course of the last dozen years living in our neighborhood, we connected occasionally.  Did I ever pray for him?  Yes.   I said hi a few dozen times.  We had a more extended “how-are-you-doing” conversation once or twice.  In fact we even had him over for a meal once.

When we came home from our family vacation in Florida, a brigade of cleaning vehicles were parked on the street.  Bill was gone.  To be honest, I don’t know if he moved in with family, moved into a care facility, or died.  All I know is that after living 12 years in the same neighborhood, I never really knew him.

We may live in a world that is so connected that Olympics in Beijing can change the price of gas in State College, but when it comes to relationships with people, we only connect if we choose to connect.  In Acts 17:26-27, Paul seems to say that God chooses where we live and when we live there — not for us — for our neighbors, so that we might be able to help them find God, when they look.  And then Jesus called us to love our neighbors like we love ourselves.  But it can’t happen unless we see our neighborhoods filled with neighbors God has called us to serve.  It won’t happen unless we choose to connect.

I’m praying for Bill tonight.  I’m praying that he has moved to a place, where he will find someone who connects with him in a way that I did not.  And I’m praying for me…asking God to enlarge the capacity of my heart for my neighbors.

Who knows, maybe there is a “Bill” in your neighborhood?