This past summer as I was leaving church one Sunday morning, out of nowhere, I had the thought “I wonder if Mr. Rogers knew what he was doing when he wrote the song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” My suspicion told me the answer was a resounding, yes! So, when I began investigating, a few weeks back, I was convinced more than ever… Mr. Rogers knew exactly what he was doing!
It is well documented Fred viewed television as his ministry and mission field. Further, he had a love and affinity for the number 143. A fact I only learned of in recent years and one which endeared him to me even more. Each numeral represented the amount of letters found in each word of the phrase, I love you (1-4-3). Seeing his ideal weight of 143 lbs each and every morning on the scale as he weighed himself brought him immense joy! I don’t know about you, but I love knowing that about him!
The song “Wont You be My Neighbor” was more than an opening number for Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. It was a testament of Fred’s faith. An invitation to come just as you are to be loved and valued just for being you! It was his love letter to the world… his 1-4-3! Fred knew the importance of loving one’s neighbor as oneself. And he wanted to share that message with the world.
It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood, A neighborly day for a beauty. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you, I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day, Since we’re together, we might as well say
Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be, Won’t you, please? Please, won’t you be my neighbor?
The word “neighbor” is mentioned often throughout the Bible. It was first mentioned in Leviticus 19:18. (I think Fred’s King Friday would have loved the KJV translation “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”) When asked what he considered the most important of all the commandments, Jesus summarized all of the commandments to a single, double-command.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it… Love your neighbor as yourself.”* (Matt. 22:37-38)
Loving your neighbor as yourself is not a self-love kind of thing. It is an unselfish kind of thing! It is hoping for and even interceding, when necessary, for your neighbor’s well-being. Fred believed his neighbor was anyone he happened to be with at the moment. And more so, if that person happened to be in need. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus answered the question Who is My Neighbor and stressed the importance of seeing others with God’s eyes… everyone put on this earth was made by and loved by God!
One of the most important lessons we have to learn during our lifetimes is to see others as God sees them and to love others as God loves them. How we view others, affects how we treat others… our neighbor is anyone we encounter! And the extent of LOVE we have for our neighbor is evidence of Christ’s spirit living in us. D.A. Carson states it this way “It is impossible to be faithful to God and nurture lovelessness towards [one’s] neighbors.”
You know the proverbial ‘other’ everyone is always talking about? The ones who don’t look like us, think like us, vote like us, etc… God says we are to love them! I love this stanza of the neighborhood song “Since we’re together, we might as well say…”
We’re all in this humanity thing together. The world is your neighbor… and mine! Imagine a world, where we asked “Please, won’t you be my neighbor!?” What a wonderful world it would be… 💕 #theLoveChallenge
“To be so FULL of God’s love, I could not fathom speaking an unkind word or doing an unkind deed.” That is my quest, join me!?
* ellipses added