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Who is my neighbor?

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Thou shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18

"Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?' He said, 'The one who showed him mercy.' Jesus said to him, 'Go and do likewise." Luke 10:36-37

The way to love your neighbor is show mercy, to clean and bind up the wounds of the one beaten by robbers. But when was the last time you saw someone beaten up on the side of the road? Are there other ways to love a neighbor?

Is our climate, the climate here in Hickman County, changing? Perhaps this is a question we can get our heads around. "Climate change" and "global warming" are ideas too big for my imagination. There is no way I can experience "global warming." Because, well, it is global.

But I can experience a higher average temperature HERE. My imagination can understand more extreme weather in this little world right around Fulton and Hickman Counties.

I, on my own, or even all of us in this county, cannot do much about "global warming." We can even to very to affect this climate. But perhaps we can do something. We need to face the realization of a local changing climate, and work to do something here for our neighbors.

I do not know what that is. But I do know that we should try. What does a changing climate mean for farmers? For those living in areas that have not flooded before, but will now? For those with higher electric bills? Higher food costs? These are issues we need to face.

We could pass these kinds of problems off as the purview of governments, for some other bigger agency. But as neighbors, one for the other, perhaps we as the church should do something. In fact, we are commanded to do something. Because doing something is how we love.

Editor's Note: Pastor John Varden is a native of Fulton County, Kentucky. He and wife, Reverend Nancy Varden who pastors Fulton United Methodist Church, are bringing up three daughters, while ministering to their church families.

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