“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” Jn 1:14 MSG. Serving in our neighborhoods is incarnational ministry. Kingdom servants desire for our neighbor’s and their families that which they desire for themselves and their families. Through service we better the lives of our neighbors spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally, just as we attempt to better our own. It often requires that we share in the suffering and pain of others.
This was the example of Jesus. Through His incarnation Jesus became one of us, living among us, and sharing experience with us. He was not a “drive-by” neighbor, he did not commute to and from heaven.
Reality is that when we serve our neighbors in the place we occupy together, our neighborhood, we share community experience. Our neighbor’s problems become our problems; what we want for our children we want for our neighbor’s children; the crime they experience we too experience. In other words, we take ownership in our neighborhood. It is our context for authentic service.