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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

You are the light of the world ... your light must shine in the sight of men
Isaiah 58:7-10; Psalm 112:4-9; I Corinthians 2:1-5; Matthew 5:13-16

Sermon Week Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 5:14,16

This year, we are reminded of the much-beloved children's television personality, Mr. Rogers, in the new movie, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." Starring Tom Hanks, (who some would say is equally beloved), the film offers a powerful message of acceptance and understanding. The hit movie was inspired by a magazine interview conducted more than twenty years ago by journalist Tom Junod who continued to correspond with the television icon until his death in 2003. In a recent article spurred by the new film, that same journalist tells us that no matter the audience -- from CEOs, doctors, celebrities, students, educators, and everyone else, Fred Rogers' message was always the same: "You were a child once too." He said Mr. Rogers "wanted us to remember what it was like to be a child so that he can talk to us; he wanted to talk to us so that we could remember what it was like to be a child. And he could talk to anyone, believing that if you remembered what it was like to be a child, you would remember that you were a child of God." -1 To which I will add, that's darn good theology!

During the reign of Oliver Cromwell (1653–1658), the British Government began to run low on silver for coins. Lord Cromwell reportedly sent some of his treasury officials to see if they could find any silver in one of the great cathedrals. After visiting the cathedral, the investigators reported the following to Cromwell:

"The only silver we could find is in the statues of the saints standing in corners." To which Cromwell replied, "Good! We'll melt down the saints and put them into circulation!"

Now that's good theology! The priority of practical Christianity is not to cram silver-coated saints into the corners of elegant cathedrals. The priority of practical Christianity is to put real, live, saintly human persons into circulation. The priority of practical Christianity is to make persons from every walk of life "fishers of men" -- CEOs, doctors, celebrities, students, educators, and all the rest of us. The priority of practical Christianity is [...]


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