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Friday, April 4, 2008

a visit to the neighborhood

Mr. Fred Rogers, ever heard of him? Well, teetering on the 'verge' of FORTY, I grew up with the man. A seemingly simple man with such a calming voice that became for me, a routine in the early afternoons of my childhood. Everyday I was invited to the neighborhood for a visit. I don't think I realized what I was taking away.

He never preached you know...but he lived out the advice of St. Francis daily.

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words."

Everyday we were invited to the neighborhood where everyone was kind, respected and valued. What a great neighborhood. Without ever saying it, Mr. Rogers, was reminding me of Jesus' greatest command.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;
Love your neighbor as yourself"
Luke 10:27

When you arrived in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood you were welcomed! While reading this book I learned that Mr. Rogers theology was "loving your neighbor." He believed that everyone was made in the image of God AND for that reason alone, he or she was to be valued, "appreciated."

It was on page 85 of Amy Hollingsworth's book The Simple Faith of Fred Rogers, where I came upon these words.

(a reference taken from Madeline L'Engle's a Wind in the Door)
"If someone knows who he is, really knows" the cherubim explains, "then he doesn't need to hate." Fred would agree: feeling as good as possible about God's creation within us, he believed, caused us to look upon our neighbor with the same sense of wonder and worth. Then, once we are able to see the image of God in our neighbors, once we recognize their inherent value, we strive to help them become who they were meant to be. We "name" them."
They are all around us...."neighbors." Some of them, I'm sure you know...are HARD to love, and yet the lesson from THIS neighborhood today is that we MUST try. We MUST love them, hard as it may be. They are God's child and He commanded us to do it.

Loving our neighbors is no easy task, but it's in loving them that we will see transformations. Transformations in them and within ourselves.

Preaching the Gospel is what Mr. Rogers did simply....
"loving all the neighbors" who stopped by with the love of Christ...

What a wonderful neighborhood.

Come on...if you know it...and YOU KNOW YOU DO...
sing just might be the reminder you need...
I know it was for me!!

"won't you please, won't you please... please won't you neighbor."
In Him,

If you're ever looking for me, you'll find me in "my neighborhood." Stop by anytime...

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Blogger Linda said...

I will indeed be your neighbor! Yesterday my devotional time revolved around the question, "Who is my neighbor?" Hmm. Repetition of themes is usually an indicator that the Holy Spirit is trying to show me something. Again. !

April 4, 2008 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

A great reminder. Thanks, Lori!

(But I'm NOT grateful that the song is going to be going around in my brain all day now! LOL)

April 4, 2008 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger Cindy Swanson said...

Great post, Lori! I loved having my kids watch Mr Rogers, because his show was calming and sweet...and my kids were able to use their imaginations and not have everything spoon-fed to them with special effects. It's great to know that Mr Rogers was a Christian...and you're so right, we need to shine the light in our own neighborhoods!

April 4, 2008 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

Good reminder,girl!

I love that quote about living the gospel...if we don't live it who will want to LISTEN to it???

Love you

April 4, 2008 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

I love this, thanks sweetie.

April 4, 2008 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

It's a Mr. Rogers kind of day. I just want to switch out my jacket for a cardigan and lace up my indoor shoes. He knew what it meant to love his neighbors. I want to be that kind of neighbor too.

April 4, 2008 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

My 41 year old niece would cry every time Mr. Roger's show was over. We have bought her the two books of him. He was an ordained minister. Cindi

April 4, 2008 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger We are THAT Family said...

Great post. Thanks for the reminder. We can learn a lot from Mr. R.

April 4, 2008 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Rogers taught kids to just love people. He did. He gave the same attention to everyone who walked through his door. Kind of like Jesus. Nothing elaborate, nothing fancy, just neighborly friendship. How many people around us could use some of that?
Sweet reminder, Lori.

(My daughter still puts her sweater on like Mr. Rogers. Zip up - zip down. And she used to worry that he wouldn't get his wardrobe change done before the music ended. Everyday. Sweet.)

Anybody else remember "Picture Picture"? Man I LOVED that!

April 4, 2008 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Papa's been speaking to me alot about how simple it was all really meant to be. Love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, strength and then love my neighbor as myself. If I do not love myself as He loves me then it will be really hard to love my neighbor. On the other hand, if I focus on loving myself in a selfish way I won't even see my neighbor.

I enjoyed reading your post. It's always good to be reminded. We watched many episodes of Mr. Rogers in this "neighborhood."

Have a blessed day.

April 4, 2008 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Lori---this was not the kind of post that is supposed to make a person cry....actually- I should be smiling with all sorts of neat memories of watching the same show. But today....the enemy crept in and slammed my heart against the wall---with hurtful words---the enemy was a real person---a sinner---in all out war against some of my precious family. I was hurt---then mad---and now, rebuked. I need to love. That's what Christ did. Loved those that persecuted Him...but girl---it is hard.
So tonight--your sweet devotion moved me to plain salty tears. Thank you for reminding me of the commands of the Lord. For truthfully, I was far from thinking on them. I needed this. TONIGHT.
YOU are such a blessing. YOU will never know.
Thanks. I wipe my face, go blow my nose and head to bed.

April 4, 2008 at 9:53 PM  

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