It’s a Beautiful Day in Our Neighborhood
Growing up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, the city in which Mr. Rogers Neighborhood originated, I had no idea just how much of a national and international icon he had become. It wasn’t until we moved to Ohio in 1984 that I realized the extent of his profound and far-reaching influence.
Fred Rogers was unique in many ways. Revered by some, ridiculed by others, he was both a comforting voice for millions of children and a target for parodies and insensitive jokes by scores of comedians.
All of this caused me to reflect on the many similarities between Mr. Rogers and Jesus himself. Both were deeply concerned about the oppressed, the lost, the lonely, and the underserved. Both had a kind and gentle nature, but neither was afraid to speak up against bias, discrimination, cruelty, and a range of other social injustices. Both professed love for all people, especially those who may have appeared to be different from the mainstream. And, unfortunately, both were mocked incessantly throughout their lives, yet they maintained an aura of grace and dignity.
Fred Rogers is gone now, having passed away in 2003, but Jesus remains with us through the Holy Spirt and the Holy Word of God, providing a calm and gentle voice that brings us perspective.
Perhaps now would be a good time to further immerse ourselves in Scripture and reflect on God’s wisdom while also revisiting some of Mr. Rogers’ timeless advice. Their messages were poignant for children, but they were often lost on the rest of us. We were prone dismiss them as being for young people only. Now, we know better.
Two of Mr. Rogers’ many quotes have stuck with me over the years, including this one that is both practical and spiritual: “Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.”
Another famous quote is this one: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
The takeaway for us is this: Do we know where to find the helpers? I would hope that all of you would feel comfortable looking for help from your pastor and your fellow church members. Likewise, we, too, can be helpers to those in need, and in so doing we honor God by carrying out his greatest commandments to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”…and to…”Love your neighbor as yourself.”
When we live by these commandments, it is indeed “a beautiful day in our neighborhood!”
Until we meet again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John