It’s a beautiful day in our neighborhood…

A new catch phrase that we have been working with in the church is “Won’t you be our Neighbor” yes…in the spirit of the great Mr. Rogers…

If you recall the words the song it goes

Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? could you be mine? I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you..I always wanted to live in the neighborhood with you.

How many times do we tell that to people–we love you exactly as you are, we always wanted someone, with all of your idiosyncrasies, annoyances, complaints and problems here!

How often are we able to get rid of the bottom-line, how often do we love people exactly the way they are–instead of who they could be or who we wish they were…

(Nowell calls it forgiving one another for not being God).

Why did people follow Jesus…why did they leave everything…

Luke 5:1-11Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats morred at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Boss, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all who were with him caught in the amazement at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Why did the disciples leave everything and follow Jesus? I think its because Jesus loved the disciples exactly as they were!! I think that feeding people and fishing in a lake town is probably very, very important, it isn’t as important as building a community….

And building that community means welcoming people who are spiritual and not religious, it means going out and meeting people wherever they are instead of requiring them to understand our concept of church–it means opening up to the fact that Jesus did not say follow me and tithe, follow me and become a church member, follow me and be sure to sit in pews in an A framed church for worship–Jesus said “I love you exactly the way you are, follow me I always needed someone JUST LIKE YOU (for more on that, read a blog about God making us perfect by Jim Palmer here) with your ideas of worship, your sense of God and your understanding of Life, follow me, I love you, so follow me” and I think that they did…

So can we do it? Can we leave our church buildings, our pews and our projects…can we go into the world and work to love and accept each other exactly as they are–children to the infirm, sick to the well….can we put a sign on the church door and tell people we’ve “Gone Fishing?”

What do you think?

PS here is the most awesome Garden of my Mind remix for Mr. Rogers 🙂

http://video.pbs.org/video/2244712132/

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