Loving Our Neighbors Today How have local Christians been working for social justice?
he second-greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25–37), Jesus tells us two important things about this task. First, we need to redefine who our neighbors are. Our neighbors include those outside our ordinary social circles, people around whom we may even feel uncomfortable. Second, the time to love our neighbors is now, and the place is right here. The Samaritan in the parable could not have come across his neighbor, lying on the side of the road, in a worse place or at a more inconvenient time. Yet he stopped his journey and put himself in danger in order to save the man’s life. Jesus is calling us to do the same. In the following interviews, some Christian students share how they have applied Jesus’ call to love their neighbors, even in the midst of their busy lives as students. We hope their stories will inspire more Christians to be involved in serving our neighbors.
What does yeah! do? yeah! is pronounced “yay” and stands for Youth Emergency Assistance Hostel. It also stands for lots of other good things: it’s Berkeley’s only shelter specifically for youth (aged 18–25) and thus fills a pretty great need. Last year, according to the website, they “provided 3700 bed-nights to 174 different youth” and “served 10,000 meals and provided 1500 showers.” As volunteers, we go to yeah! and prepare a meal, usually from an internet recipe that’s been multiplied by 25. Then the youth come in and we serve it, hang out with them during less-busy moments in the kitchen, and wash up afterwards.
Thera Crane, Youth Emergency Assistance Hostel (YEAH!)
Brittany Tyler, Project Peace
Why did you first get involved with yeah!? Back in 2006, our Veritas Graduate Christian Fellowship women’s small group decided we’d like to do a service project, and one that was engaging beyond occasional volunteer work. We wanted to make sure we were learning, too. We decided to focus on homelessness because it is such an obvious issue in our area. The very day we were going to choose our project, I noticed some yeah! posters my department manager had hung up. I looked up yeah! on the internet, got excited, and told the small group about it, and we all liked the idea.
Please tell me about Project Peace. Project Peace’s mission is to create a bridge between the resources of local churches and the needs of social service providers because we want to encourage Christians to volunteer through and within their church community. The church exists to bless its surrounding community; if it is merely an insulated, closed-off institution, looking inward instead of outward, it is not fulfilling its job. All Christians have a duty to make sacrifices because they are the beneficiaries of God’s ultimate sacrifice, His Son. But it is important for Christians to serve
for more information:
Youth Emergency Assistance Hostel (YEAH!) yeah-berkeley.org Project Peace projectpeaceeastbay.org
How can students get involved with yeah!? If people are interested, they should check out the website and send a message through the volunteer page. It is easy to get involved, and there are morning and evening cooking and serving opportunities every day of the week.
Fall 2008 | To An Unknown God
To An Unknown God's fall 2008 print issue, on the theme of social justice.