Have you seen the movie, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’
If not, I recommend you do!
It is a documentary that is also a great movie. More than that, in these polarized and divided times, it is a breath of fresh air- and just what we need.
There are lots of great reviews about “Won’t You Be My Neighbor’” but the best one is from someone who isn’t a movie critic. David Brooks writes,
There’s nothing obviously moving here, and yet the audience is moved: sniffling, wiping the moisture from their cheeks. The power is in Rogers’s radical kindness at a time when public kindness is scarce. It’s as if the pressure of living in a time such as ours gets released in that theater as we’re reminded that, oh yes, that’s how people can be.
Later this Fall, I have planned a sermon series by the same name, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” When Rich and I were planning this series, we believed it would be timely and important to talk about how to be good neighbors in such an un-neighborly environment. We didn’t know there would be a documentary- or that it would be so good. There is, and it is.
I recommend going with others. Friends and family are the easy choices, but why not think about going with people in your LIFE Group or another group from church? Another suggestion: invite a neighbor to go with you! Regardless of who you go with the obvious question to discuss afterwards is, “What can Mr. Rogers teach us about being better neighbors in our neighborhood?”
I also don’t recommend you wait too long to go see it. This is one of those movies that is a limited release and may not be around for long.
Jesus said that the whole Law could be summarized into…
Love God with everything you are
Love your neighbor
That means at least half of God’s intent for us is contained in how we treat our neighbors. Mr. Rogers’ life was the model for the needed neighbor. His life was a reminder that, “oh yes, that’s how people can be.”
When it comes to the provisions of God, the problem is not that they aren’t there, but that we often don’t see what is all around us.
That was the thrust of my sermon on Sunday. When God sent ‘manna’ every day to the children of Israel, they didn’t recognize it as a blessing. In fact, the name, ‘manna’ translates as “What’s this?!” The provisions of God surrounded them every day, but it took some practice to recognize and know how to use it.
The lessons that seem so obvious, still need to be learned today. To help us learn to recognize and respond to the provisions of God, we handed out a simple tool- a notebook with some simple instructions. The notebook is easily carried in a pocket or purse and is used to jot down the provisions of God as you recognize them. It’s hard to believe something so “simple” can be so powerful. Here is how it works:
Let's face it, most published prayers sound a little too polished, a little too perfect, and a lot too churchy. They have words that you know you should pray, but you have to cross your fingers a little bit when you pray them. They don't really sound like...you.
Here is a prayer for the new year that anyone could pray! It's from Thomas Merton- a Trappist monk that changed the way a lot of people thought about God. I'm one of those people. I've used this prayer many times when the rest of my words feel empty.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."
Glad you're here! My name is Russ Kane and I have the privilege of being the pastor of an amazing church called, New Hope Presbyterian Church. It's a place where people "Find a Home, Build a Life and Make a Difference." This blog is a journal of our life together. Welcome!