Sermon title: "Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength"
Sermon text: Mark 12:28-34
Growing up near Pittsburgh, I can’t help but think of Fred Rogers when I hear the word neighbor. Through his children’s programming on public television, Mr. Rogers shaped generations of young minds, teaching love, kindness, and respect for others.
As an ordained Presbyterian pastor, he loved God by loving his youngest neighbors. He loved God by honoring the image of God in each child, valuing them in a way grown-ups often forget. Valuing them the way Jesus did.
He loved God by taking the time to explain difficult things to children in a careful way; things like divorce and death and racism.
In the days of the Civil Rights Movement, there was an evening news story of a hotel manager dumping bags of pool chemicals into the hotel pool while several African-Americans were swimming in it. It is a horrifying video to watch.
And in one of the next episodes of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” we see the radical Mr. Rogers sharing a kiddie pool with Francoise Clemmons, the African-American man who played Officer Clemens on the show. At the end of the scene, he even helps Officer Clemmons dry his feet with a towel.
Sometimes a simple gift of love is the only lesson we really need to see.