I started watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood just after I started watching Television. There was a 6-month period where I would watch “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “I Love Lucy,” but as soon as Mister Rogers was first on PBS I was hooked. (I also watched Sesame Street, but I have always been partial to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.)
I learned many valuable lessons from Mister Rogers. I learned that everyone was important. I learned that the way a person dresses or how much money they have doesn’t make them special – everyone is special because everyone is unique. I learned that it is possible to stop doing something you know is wrong. I learned that unconditional love really does exist.
In Mister Rogers Neighborhood, things are mostly pleasant – but not always. In the Neighborhood of make-believe there are daily problems that need to be addressed. Someone is not feeling needed. Someone is thinking that they are more important than everyone else is. Someone has done something that they need to say “I’m sorry” for. Someone needs the help of others. Someone needs a friend.
In this week’s Bible reading from Luke 10:27-35, a lawyer showed that he understood what Jesus was trying to communicate – that we are to love God and to love our neighbor. But he needed clarification as to who our neighbor is. And Jesus told on of the most often read parables of the Bible: The parable of the Good Samaritan.
And here's what I think that parable communicates:
God’s neighborhood is one where everyone is important.
Every person in creation has a place at the table in God’s neighborhood.
So why don't things work like that?