“Won’t you be my neighbor?” The theme song Fred Rogers sang to his audience every episode was all about this invitation, and it wasn’t some empty question. It came out of Rogers’ understanding of Scripture and particularly Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, when the question is asked “Who is my neighbor?” The original question (in Luke chapter 10) was intended to narrow the requirements of who the asker had to love, but the story instead expanded the view beyond anything they would have expected. Mister Rogers embodied this expansive view of who his neighbor was, and spent his days inviting them into the love he saw as their birthright. He flipped the question from “Who is my neighbor?” to “Won’t YOU be my neighbor?”, an invitation for each person to see themselves as a beloved part of a community. We’ve all heard enough sermons about what it means to “love your neighbor” that, for most of us, there is probably guilt at not-doing-enough that immediately rushes in when we hear that imperative. What would it be for you to take a cue from Mister Rogers today and flip it around a bit, playfully inviting (internally, probably, though you’re welcome to sing the theme song as you go about your world today, too!) each person you see to be your neighbor? Inviting your own self to remember your place in a community of belovedness? How does that shift things for you?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2023-06-27 14:00:14 UTC