“The more I think about it, the more I wonder if God and neighbor are somehow One. ‘Loving God, Loving neighbor’ – the same thing? For me, coming to recognize that God loves every neighbor is the ultimate appreciation.” – Rev. Fred Rogers
Our world is always spinning forward, but we have a nostalgic fascination with the past. Fashions and fads arrive, bloom, depart, and resurrect every twenty years or so. Our television sets and movie screens are filled with reboots of previous comedy and drama hits. Even popular music seems to skip back like a scratched record every couple of decades. The Bible clearly gets it right when it tells us, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NRSV.)
I am not a big fan of restarting old trends, and I am generally pretty happy to live in the now. However, there is one program (and person) I am happy to see back in the limelight. America is rediscovering Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and a new feature length film is coming out called, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Like many of you, I fondly remember Fred Rogers coming into my home every morning through the magic of television to tell me how special and unique I was. He changed his sweater and his shoes, but he never changed his message on loving our neighbors and our neighborhood.
I believe we need Mr. Rogers’ words in our world now more than ever. Too often, we look at others as different and dangerous, strangers to be feared or even hated. Many lament how neighborhoods are changing for the worse. The past couple of years have seen the sparks of discontent and division fan into a consuming wildfire of angst and animosity. Instead of engaging others, we are quick to talk about them and dismiss their needs, hopes, and wants.
I believe our country is longing for a return to civility, and this is where the renewed fascination with Mr. Rogers comes into play. There is something reassuring about the consistent message delivered in a gentle voice that we are loved, and we are special. We will have a special sermon series in June focusing on neighbors, neighborhoods, receiving, and giving love. It is more timely now than ever before, and I hope you will invite someone to hear this good news!
So let's make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we're together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
In Hope and Confidence,