Current Worship Series

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

September 29th – November 3rd
Theme: Finding peace through the world’s most beloved neighbor.
Everyday he taught God’s message without preaching a word.  He was their neighbor, their friend.  For over 30 years, Fred Roger’s T.V. show for children used puppets instead of a pulpit, sharing with the world the basic principles of the Christian faith: forgiveness, kindness, compassion, respect.  He made those values real for his audience, but they became real for him through his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Let’s find peace through learning to be and to love our neighbor by diving into the teachings of Jesus as shared and lived out by Fred Rogers.  
 
September 29th – Spiritual Toast Sticks Mark 6:34-43 Theme: We all have something to share with others.  
As a child, Fred Rogers developed a friendship with Mama Bell, a neighbor of his. She always gave him a snack when he would stop by after school.  Eventually, she taught him how to make toast sticks, but Fred felt like he had been entrusted with her sacred specialty.  We all have something to teach someone else; a skill, a hobby, a passion.  Fred saw his work as sharing ‘spiritual toast sticks’ with others.  We are called to do the same thing, seeking to leave a legacy through what we share we others.  
October 6th (World Communion Sunday) – A Presence Transformed Matthew 6:5-15 Theme: Relationship is the essence of prayer.  
There was a ritualistic tenor to the Mister Roger’s Neighborhood television show.  For Fred Rogers, there was comfort and peace in the consistency of the formula.  He approached the order of his life and his faith with that same consistency and considered everything he did as a prelude or an outcome to prayer.  The essence of prayer is relationship.  Mr. Rogers aimed to strengthen his relationships through the discipline of consistent prayer.  What would change within our relationship with Christ and with others if our prayer lives took on that same formula?  
 
October 13th – Who Is My Neighbor? Luke 10:25-37 Theme: Being a neighbor through acts of mercy.  
Mr. Rogers was less concerned with defining his neighbor than he was with being one himself.  At the center of Fred’s theology was this: Every person is made in the image of God, and for that reason alone, is to be valued and “appreciated.”  We have a choice to view others through the eyes of an accuser or an advocate, so which will we choose? Will we get to know others by seeing the face of God in them?  Through acts of mercy, let’s be the face of Christ in the world around us.  
 
October 20th – The Power of Forgiveness Matthew 18:21-35 Theme: Forgiveness channels negative feelings into positive action.  
Fred Rogers would commonly say, “The world needs to know what to do with negative feelings.”  In our world today, it is too easy to choose retaliation and violence with our words and actions.  But how much healthier and effective would it be to find resolution through interpersonal communication and through channeling negative feelings into positive action.  Fred Rogers said it could be done in one word…forgiveness.  
 
October 27th (Trunk or Treat Sunday) – The Least of These Matthew 25:35-45 Theme: Helping others to feel empowered and to believe in themselves.  
Fred Rogers was a lifelong student of those Jesus called, “the least of these.”  From the very beginning of his career, he was a champion for those who demonstrated vulnerability and humility.  For Fred, the Kingdom of God included the helpless, the impressionable, the unsophisticated, and the powerless.  Fred taught through Individuation, a process of child development that integrated influences that make a person whole with the discovery of their own uniqueness.  This is what some would call discipleship.  This process for Fred was born out of his own pain in life, where he sought to soothe the pain of others and alleviate the callous disregard for “the least of these.”  
 
November 3rd (All Saints Day) – Heading Toward Heaven Matthew 18:1-7 Theme: Sharing love comes through trusting and believing in others.  
One of Fred Rogers’ favorite sayings was, “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”  While Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was not a metaphor for heaven, it possessed an otherworldly atmosphere that was not only calming, but filled with hope.  Fred inspired others to have eyes for the invisible within others, seeing what is wonderful about their neighbor.  Perhaps that’s the goal of any relationship?  Fred would say the greatest gift we have to share is love.  Maybe heaven isn’t necessarily a place, but is rather what occurs through our connections with others?  Can we trust enough to open our eyes and see the invisible within the other as we share the greatest gift of love?