We’ve highlighted saints here before, learning about their lives and their words and the encouragement they offer our own faith. We spent a week with Saint Francis last summer at this time. This week we’re going to be listening in on the words of someone more recent, someone who will likely never be canonized (though many affectionately call him “Saint Fred”). He’s a man more associated with children’s television than the church (though he was an ordained Presbyterian minister!), but he saw his show as his ministry, an outworking of his faith. That’s right, we’re going to be spending some time with the sayings of Mister Rogers this week. Many of us grew up seeing his gentle smile on our televisions, the antics of his puppets in the Land of Make-Believe, and the ever-present sweaters and shoe changes. But Fred Rogers saw it as more than that—as a way he could remind people (because not only kids tuned in!) around the world of their belovedness, their worth, their likability—as a means of loving with God’s love through the medium of television. He is reported to have described the space between him and the viewer as “holy ground.” For generations of kids who may not have been hearing these things from the adults in their lives, it has been an invitation to hope—that there really is someone out there that loves them and that they are part of a human community, a kind “neighborhood” of folks where they matter—and it has even been healing, for some! So let’s start with the way he ended each episode: “You’ve made this such a special day, just by your being you. There’s no person in the whole world just like you, and I like you just the way you are.” How does your soul respond to those words? Have you ever heard them as an expression of God’s heart before? What does it feel like to receive them that way today, however many times you have or haven't heard them on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood? Image from Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2023-06-26 13:58:45 UTC