The long awaited Mr. Rogers movie with Tom Hanks in the starring role came out Friday. I haven’t seen it yet, but I did see the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” that was released last year. Helen and I absolutely loved it. Very powerful! Very uplifting!
We’re going to be showing that movie here at church. (Not the Tom Hanks movie, but the documentary.) It will be shown in the sanctuary at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, December 18. It lasts 1:35. That will be the Wednesday after our last “Midweek” meal before Christmas break, also the Wednesday after the choir’s Cantata, so they will have a rare Wednesday evening without practice. Spread the word. Invite your friends. If you aren’t deeply moved by this beautiful telling of the Fred Rogers story, I will be surprised. In fact we will gladly refund your price of admission (there is no price of admission, by the way).
Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian pastor. His calling was a ministry to children, using television. He was bothered by the commercial use of children’s television to sell things. He referred to his ministry as a “broadcasting of grace throughout the land.” His central message which never changed is the essence of grace — You are loved just the way you are. That, by the way, is the good news of Jesus Christ.
You never heard him mention God or Jesus on air. He said, “You don’t need to speak overtly about religion to get the message across.” But he did pray in private before each broadcast: “Let some word that is heard today be Thine.”
I used to think “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” was just about the stupidest program on television. I was 13 when the show began, way too sophisticated for baby stuff like that. I know better now. Jesus was right. “Unless you become like children . . . “