A Pastoral Word
Worship Theme for August/September: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"
"I believe that appreciation is a holy thing; that when we look for what's best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we've participated in something sacred." - Fred Rogers
In 1968, in the middle of Vietnam War protests and the Civil Rights movement, the children's televi-sion show, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" premiered. "Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister, and although he rarely shared his religious convictions on his program, he fervently believed in a God who accepts us as we are, and loves us without condition, who is present in each person and all of creation, and who desires a world marked by peace and wholeness. With this progressive spirituality as his inspiration, Rogers fashioned his children's program as a platform for sharing countercultural beliefs about caring nonviolently for one another, animals and the earth… His voice was gentle, his body was vulnerable, his hair was in place. He wore colorful, comfortable soft sweaters made by his "mother" and transformed millions of children's understanding of what it means to be in community with one another.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the show's premier and Mr. Rogers' words still have the power to transform our understanding of who is our neighbor. For the months of August and September, we are invited once more to Mr. Rogers' neigh-borhood. There we will discover just who is our neighbor, what it means to live in community with one another, and participate in something sacred as we look for the best in each other. So it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood; won't you be our neighbor?