It used to beThe ones who lived close In one's village Near one's farm Who used the same well These were one's neighbors
The others The strangers The different The frightening The not to be trusted Lived over the hill Beyond the horizon
Then We grew We came to see those Of our county Or region Or nation As our neighbors
We grew more Learning to see The imperishable soul The divine image In those far away We learned To weep For the distant child-distended belly and hollow eyes The flood victim-bedraggled/crushed by loss The refugee-lost and bewildered
But We also contracted Shrunk Became less
In the village While the difference between Rich And Poor Was not great The rich man knew his poor neighbor The poor woman knew the rich one All lived Close Cheek by Jowl Knew each other Face-to-face Eye-to-eye Knew each others' Humanity Infinite worth
Now We congregate With those like us The wealthy need only see (other than objects) The wealthy The poor may Easily Hate The wealthy Because they Are them The other
It used to be We had to hear The voices of those Who differed from us It used to be In the tavern Or the square Or by the gate Or outside the sanctuary We had to Hear Listen Take into account Consider The crazy opinions of Our neighbors We had to find Common ground Compromise Because How else Could we live Together
Now Each need only Hear Listen to To Mirrors of his opinion Her stand We need never entertain the thoughts The arguments That are Alien to us Different form ours I have my news They have theirs And if facts Are causalities And truth Bleeds unseen What does it matter? I am not discomforted. My neighbors are now Those like me The others Like their opinions Are alien
And now Those who I see as my neighbor Are like me It is easy to love them As myself For They are so like me Sensing that We are made in the image of The Holy We envision The Holy To be Like this Common Image We confirm our ideas Our prejudices Our opinions By This idol We have Made. Better we should Grind it up And Eat Its dust.
Come Says The Holy Let us reason together Go Reason together Expand once more Grow again Learn to recognize To see To reach to touch The imperishable Inner core of light Holiness Truth That lies in each one Not just those we have drawn around us A comfort to keep us Unperturbed Let us be rattled Let us be shaken Challenged required to think Forced to Common ground
Only when you see “Ah All All Are made in the image of G-D All are my neighbors” Can you begin To fully grow To begin To become What we are each Meant to be.