Yesterday would have been Mr. Rogers 90th birthday. While I was surfing Twitter after work, I was reminded of the amazing gift that Mr. Rogers was to humanity. I was also reminded that he was also an ordained Presbyterian minister and one of the best theologians of the 20th century. So here are some graduate-level studies in theology from Mr. Rogers with a few questions I’ve been pondering lately.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” Where is Jesus calling me to be a helper?
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Am I very good at the work of being a child of God?
“I think of discipline as the continual everyday process of helping a child learn self-discipline.” Am I letting Jesus help me learn to be a disciplined follower on the Way?
“There’s no person in the world just like you, and I like you just the way you are.” Am I letting my truest and deepest self shine through with the Light of Christ?
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” Am I treating God’s love live an active noun? Am I accepting my self and others the way we are, as images of God?
Mr. Rogers reminds me that no matter how good our theology is, it really doesn’t matter. “Faith apart from works is dead,” as the letter from James says. We are called to not only have the right beliefs, but to also live them out in our everyday life, and so Mr. Rogers reminds me that faith is experiential, not just a checklist of ideas for me to assent to.
So as we round the corner into Holy Week, let us walk into the mystery of following Jesus individually and communally through the Red Seas of this life. Let us live the faith that we proclaim. Let us experience the last week of Jesus’ life re-membered and then rejoice in the new and abundant life waiting for us to live out and experience.