“Our streets have become giant car parks with roads running through them. If you are at home look out the window and imagine taking just ten cars away. It will free up a 40 by 20m area - space enough for a small park. How could it be used – an orchard, table tennis, benches, a communal bbq, and a veg patch...Giant Jenga?
Our streets and our experience of our neighbours would become very different - perhaps for instance, the forgotten elderly would find a natural place to come and meet their neighbours in the summer.”
I don’t know about where you live but sometimes I get really annoyed when I get home from work and can’t park my car outside my own house, whether that is due to my neighbours, who have at least 4 cars, or people parked so that they can take their pets to the vets, 2 doors up.
As I thought about the picture that this email summoned up in my mind I could just see what this might look like. A green area with lovely tree’s covered in pink and white blossom. Older people sat on benches having a good natter, children running around playing chase, the sounds of laughter and adults talking, the smell of a bbq as all the neighbours enjoy themselves. Can you imagine what your street might look like? This is the wonderful side of community.
Last week we saw the other side of this when Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered. This week she would have celebrated her 42nd birthday and around the country and the world people have been remembering her, what she stood for and what in less than a week she is coming to stand for in the wider community and tweeting about her using #MoreinCommon. The death of Jo Cox reminds me that whatever is happening, even in the saddest times good can be brought about. I am reminded of Easter. Out of the deep sadness of Good Friday comes the eternal joy of Easter Sunday.
So wherever you are, whatever you are doing, take a few moments to look around you and maybe ask yourself what can you do for the people you can see?
Maybe pray for them that whatever they need God would provide, maybe by using us as the providers because, as Jo Cox said in her maiden speech in Parliament, “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us”.