It’s the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers Neighborhood – at least the version that came out on Public Broadcasting that most of the US could watch. Fred Rogers, with his cardigan sweater, sneakers and welcoming atitude set out to target a television show to very young kids. And he talked about their feelings right away. Because very young kids are precious. They are easily hurt, and that hurt can last a very long time.
The Mister Rogers Neighborhood moment that touches me the most is this one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BZlyxS37Kk I hope you watch the whole thing, but at 4:19 Mister Rogers begins to sing It’s You I Like to Jeff, his neighbor that day. Jeff is in a very fancy wheelchair, which he has spent several minutes explaining with Mister Rogers. But its not the fancy wheelchair Mister Rogers sees – it’s You I like, he sings.
In our sermon time this June we are looking at the Ten commandments, and Exodus 19 and 20. Here’s what I want you to notice – God takes the time to tell the Israelites that ‘it’s you I like’. These (possibly as many as 2.5 million) Israelites have left 400 years in Egypt, most of them as slaves. Their God has released them from servitude through the actions of Moses. And they are free from that slavery. But, a slave has little opportunity to think for themselves, little occasion to develop higher level thinking and make moral and righteous choices. They are, like the very young child, easily hurt, and that hurt can last a very long time.
So, at the auspicious point at Mt. Sinai, God gives Moses a list of rules that will make their lives better, and the lives of their neighbors better. Because making their own decisions is a new thing for the released slaves of Egypt. But he starts by saying, It’s you I Like. ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wingsand brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ .
You are mine. As we press on in the next two weeks to talk about God’s commandments, keep in mind that God told God’s people first – how much he loved them.
And just to make your day even better – watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcNxY4TudXo
the next time Fred Rogers saw Jeff his friend from the earlier clip, their relationship was the same.
I hope you live on the joy of that moment all day!