This Friday is the opening day of the movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” depicting the ministry of Fred Rogers. This film gives us a true story of a friendship between Mr. Rogers and a journalist stressing the importance of love, forgiveness and kindness. I hope that many of you will be able to see that film and will appreciate the spiritual impact that he made.
I am able to recall days when I sat with my small children watching his show on TV. It always seemed to me that the flow of the show was a lot like the Children’s Sermons that many of us have been privileged to hear in church. ( I think most of you would agree that the message of those sermons always seems to speak to the child within us.)
I remember him speaking about sharing love, being joyful and patient, being gentle with our animal friends, not being angry or selfish but having self-control instead, paying attention to being truthful (honest), displaying our best behavior, and always being kind. Doesn’t that remind you of the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.
Jesus taught us to; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mister Rogers taught this important Gospel message of friendship and love.
I have found a poster promoting that movie and share it with you. It says: “We believe in kindness, we believe that small actions can have a large impact, that kindness is contagious. We believe in being neighborly. We believe that gratitude restores the soul, that taking time to say “thank you” is always worth the effort. We believe we are missionaries in our neighborhoods—that being salt and light in the world means loving and living like Christ. We believe in the life-changing power of friendship. We believe that beautiful days are not made by what we have, but by who we love. We believe in cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We thank God for this beautiful day.”
Disciple Ministries have written a faith-based study guide based on what I think must surely be a marvelous family movie. You’ll find a poster with the quotation from above, a discussion guide, and a support group guide. Visit www.umcdiscipleship.org for your free download.
Let’s make the most of this beautiful day the Lord has given to us!
The writer is the the chaplain at Ohio Living Dorothy Love and does pastoral care at Sidney First United Methodist Church.