Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Love your neighbor.
A picture of "Mr. Rogers." (see below sermon)
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27 (NIV)
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Perhaps you have heard of Fred Rogers. He is better known as "Mr. Rogers" and he once had a television show called "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." Every show began the same way. Mr. Rogers would enter his home, take off his jacket and shoes, and put on a sweater and comfortable tennis shoes while singing his theme song "Won't You Be My Neighbor." The song started out like this... (if possible, sing it)
It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood
A beautiful day for a neighbor
Would you be mine
Could you be mine
And it ended like this...
Won't you be my neighbor
Won't you please, won't you please
Please won't you be my neighbor
When Mr. Rogers died several years ago, he had millions of "neighbors" all over the world and, although he was quite famous, he never thought of himself as a TV star. He said, "I always thought I was a neighbor who just came in for a visit." Mr. Rogers knew what it meant to be a good neighbor.
One day, a lawyer asked Jesus what he had to do to have eternal life. When Jesus asked him what God's Law said, the lawyer answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus answered, "You are right. Do this and you will live." But the man wanted to make himself look good, so he asked Jesus another question. "Who is my neighbor?" he asked.
To answer this question, Jesus told a story about a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They beat him, took his money, stripped him of his clothes, and left him beside the road to die.
A priest came by and when he saw the man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and continued on his way.
A little while later, a Levite who worked in the temple came along. He also saw the man lying there and passed by on the other side of the road.
Finally, a man from Samaria came along, and when he saw the man, he stopped to help him. He put medicine on his wounds and wrapped them with bandages. That isn't all. He took the man to an inn and took care of him. The next day, he gave the innkeeper some money and told him to take care of the man. "Give him anything he needs. If it costs more than I have given you, I will pay you the next time I am here."
Then Jesus asked, "Which of these three men was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by the robbers."
The lawyer answered, "The one who helped him."
"You are right," said Jesus, "now you go and do the same."
The world is full of people today who are in desperate need of a neighbor. "Won't you be my neighbor?" they ask. Just as the good Samaritan in the story helped the one in need, Jesus says to you and me, "Go and do the same."
Dear Father, Jesus taught us to love our neighbor. Help us to be a good neighbor to everyone we meet. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.