Posts Tagged neighbors

Benjamin Oink: The Christmas Pig

By Mitch Carnell – A friend of Benjamin Oink – West Ashley Writer’s Group

 

One afternoon as I sat dozing in my favorite chair I heard a knocking at my front door.

When I went to see who was there I looked left, I looked right but I didn’t see anyone.

“Down here. I’m down here.”

I looked down and saw a big smiling face.

“Good afternoon, sir. My name is Benjamin Oink.”

Benjamin Oink,” I repeated in surprise.

“Yes, Benjamin Oink. I was strolling down your street and your house looked so friendly.”
“Thank you, Mr. Oink.”

“It’s almost Christmas,” Mr. Oink said. “I was wondering if you would like for me to guard your mailbox.”

“What do you mean, guard my mail box?”

“Well, I would keep watch so that your mail stayed safe.”

That is how Benjamin Oink came to live at our mailbox.

Everyone who passed by our mailbox waved and honked their horns. Everyone fell in love with Benjamin Oink and he loved them back.

Every day when Carol went to collect our mail, Benjamin greeted her with a huge smile.

“Oink, oink, oink,” he said. “I am so happy to see you, Miss Carol.”

Carol patted him on his curled up nose and gave him an oatmeal raisin cake.

“Oink, oink. Thank you. Please come back tomorrow. I look forward to seeing you. Oink, oink.”

All of the neighbors brought him gifts. Miss Shannon gave him corn on the cob. Miss Barbara brought him real shortbread cookies, but his favorite was those oatmeal raisin cakes. Benjamin Oink now watches all the nearby mailboxes. He is a good neighbor.

That is how Benjamin Oink became known as the Christmas Pig.

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That We May Love Our Neighbors as Ourselves – Glenn Hinson* – A Prayer

Crescent Hill Baptist Church                                                 September 7, 2008

O God, we know it’s presumptuous to pray.

Yet we must, for you have commanded it, and we can’t face life without it.

We know, too, why you have commanded it.

Not just because we need it, but because you’ve fallen in love with us and can’t   get along without us, Mad Lover that you are.

You put yourself on the spot when you did it, you know, and now here we are, coming just as we are, to put before you our “souls’ sincere desires.”

What is our soul’s sincere desire?

We can’t really put it into words because so many other thoughts have come in

and taken control of our lives, but here are some of the ways we’ve learned to express it:

–We want to do your will, O God, not just our own.

–We want to obey your commandments and instruction rather than go our selfish ways.

–Or, as the Apostle Paul said it, we want to love our neighbors as ourselves,

which sums up the Law in its entirety.

We can’t hear ourselves say those words, though, without recognizing that we have failed to live them and need to ask your forgiveness.  Forgive us, O God,

–When we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

–When we fail to consider how our desire for comforts and conveniences causes hurt to people in poorer nations.

–When we let the chasm between rich and poor in our nation and between nations grow and grow and grow without protest and effort to change.

–When we let our busyness and distractedness keep us from being “good Samaritans” to people in a ditch by the side of the road.

Your loving kindness and infinite patience alone can assure us that you forgive us, but we know that your grace impels us to renewed resolution to love our neighbors like you love—without partiality and without limit.  And we know that your love alone can transform us and energize us to love our neighbors as we have never loved before.

In humility, then, we gather here in your presence, O God, to plead “that your love may grow more and more in us in understanding and in every sensitivity, so that we may have a sense of things that really matter, in order that we may be pure in heart in the day of Christ and filled with the fruit of righteousness that redounds through Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God” (Phil 1:9-11).

As we bow in the presence of you “whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere,” we lift up to you a few of our concerns for neighbors:

–Our beloved neighbors from Myanmar and the families they have had to leave behind.

–Our neighbors of all ages in Crescent Hill Baptist Church who wrestle with life’s vulnerabilities.

–Our neighbors in the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky in their efforts to provide adequate sustenance for the whole body politic in a time of economic        stress.

–Our neighbors in our nation and all the nations of the earth in their earnest  search for justice, freedom, and peace.

–Especially our neighbors everywhere who suffer the ravages of war—the deaths, the famine, the loss of livelihoods and homes, the devastation.

O God, we pray that you will give us

–eyes to see who are our neighbors,

–ears to hear their cries,

–hearts to love them as you love us,

–minds to understand how to put love into action,

–and hands to do what our hearts and minds tell us.

Now we make bold to pray the prayer our Lord Jesus taught us to pray, saying,

“Our Father . . .”

Glenn Hinson spoke at the Hamrick Lectures at First Baptist Church of Charleston, SC in 2002. He is a renowned Biblical scholar and seminary professor. This prayer is used with his permission.

 

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