In my own life I've been heavily influenced by chapter 10 of the Gospel According to Luke where Jesus affirms that the most important thing is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When Jesus is asked the question, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus goes on to tell a story in which the hero is a Samaritan. If you are not too familiar with the stories in the Bible all you need to know is that Samaritans were a despised group of people by the people in Jesus' community. When we ask the question of who should be included as a neighbor Jesus says we should expand the boundaries that we set in our minds.
What if we are to take this teaching to its logical expansion there are no categories of people that should be excluded from "neighbor" status or from community. To treat someone as a neighbor, to love them with the love that Jesus models and Paul writes about in 1 Cor. 13:4-7, is to live into community with all people.
I suggest that to take this teaching about neighbors to its logical conclusion is to consider that as creatures of God we are made to live into community with all that has life; to consider every creature that has life (no matter how different they may be) as a neighbor who is worthy of our respect, care, and even our love as Jesus models it and Paul writes about it.
To love someone effectively we must first get to know them; to get acquainted with who they are, how they live, and what is required for each to thrive as creatures of God.
This is why I'm excited to announce that this-coming Spring and Summer I'll be making myself available for some "neighborhood tours" through what will be called Creek and Canyon Wildlife Tours. One of the first opportunities this Spring will be a tour to meet our neighbors in the marsh located 3 miles north of Wellsboro, PA that is called "The Muck." There is a convenient boardwalk that even makes this marsh trail handicapped accessible. Some of the birds that call that place home (that will sometimes come right up and introduce themselves!) are shown in the photographs that I've taken that you see below.
Believe me when I say my pictures do no justice to an in-person encounter with these beautiful creatures. These birds got character! If you are interested in a bestlife.community Wildlife Tour of the marsh sometime between late April-late May please leave me a comment or send me a message.
I'll also make myself available to lead other Wildlife Tour experiences with additional habitats and creatures throughout the year. I am just so passionate about God's call upon my life to live rooted in relationship with God and live into community with all that has life that it fills my heart with joy in having opportunities to share these experiences.