The Rev. Dr. Stewart F. Pohlman often got a laugh telling our congregation that he was leading a “Morrison Heights” revival. I followed him into the pulpit of Goodwill Church nearly 20 years ago, but I still remember wondering about Morrison Heights. A little imperfect research, which we can all do now thanks to Google and Wikipedia, led me to learn that it, along with Scotts Corners, Berea, Coldenham, and Allards (or Allards Corners) are all nearby hamlets. Right away “to be or not to be” echoed in my mind even though a hamlet is not a Shakespearean tragedy, but a neighborhood. On second thought, however, maybe there is something a little tragic about the fact that what once was considered a neighborhood may not be seen as one anymore. If there is anything we all need more of in life, it might be expressed by the word “neighbor.” I try to picture what these hamlets were once like. I imagine the stories past residents could tell about life and people and love. Jesus taught, near the end of Matthew 22, that a faith and life centered on the love of our God must include a love for our neighbor. Like you, I’ve heard that a neighbor today is more likely someone we connect with via social media than someone we physically live near. This explanation, however, falls flat and makes me yearn again for what the best of life in a hamlet must have been like. In a day when the meaning of the word “neighbor” seems to be fading into extinction, I wonder what you and I can do, with God’s help, to bring it back.

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