Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Rogers’

Ah, Maundy Thursday cinema at the Chateau Ragan Cinema last night was busy, after Overcomer, we enjoyed a new Tom Hanks movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019) which touches on an interview from 1998 that Mr. Rogers granted to an investigative journalist from Esquire, Lloyd Vogel. The premise does sound a bit pedestrian I admit, but it is a story of service, authenticity and reconciliation. Seeing some connections between the themes of Holy Week and Maundy Thursday? In the idea that at the Last Supper, each disciple spent time intimately being served by Jesus, in full presence as he washed their feet, confirmed who they were, and that they were loved just as they are… even Judas, who Jesus confirmed had to do what he was destined to do.

So we meet Mr. Fred Rogers, a man humbly called into service in a medium to reach out to families and the children of the world. Who his wife admits struggles sometimes with anger, but it is how he chooses to respond. That lays out some daily spiritual practice, of walks, alone time, presence, prayer (praying for each person by name he knows), when he meets new people and is blessed to spend moments of life with him so he can share the full story with his beloved wife. A neat aside is that during the making of extras, Mrs. Rogers would share that Tom Hanks was her husband’s favourite actor (and really, who else could we see playing Mr. Rogers)…Full disclaimer time, as a Canadian lad, I was more fond of Mr. Dressup (and hey CBC–how about a documentary and t.v. movie????), but whose life has not been touched or shaped in some way by Mr. Rogers’ and his simple living of kindness and presence?

See the source imageThe idea that each child has value as a child, not for what they will become, but who they simply are. Read that again, value for being.  The simple notion of the Imageo Dei, brought to the screen for every child. He is America’s family and child pastor.

Vogel is assigned a feature for Esquire on Mr. Rogers. He is used to digging under the surface, exposing hypocrisy, and the evil under the surface. Vogel is actually the main character of the movie, with Mr. Rogers as the spiritual guide in the journey of truth, love, forgiveness, and reconciliation that awaits his new friend, Mr. Vogel. For Vogel the first step is beginning to understand that kindness and love, can exist in another for others, with no strings attached. True friendship, an echo of the time when Jesus took a towel and water, and said they were not master-student, but friends…

It is a story of true identity. Knowing your identity. Living your identity. In simplicity of life. (Mr. Rogers’ theme as subway sing a long here).

It is a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, despite our current circumstances. You have value for being. You are beloved, and belong.

The final closing thought is a beautiful spiritual practice from the film to share,

Take a minute, and just be with

the memories of all those that have and are loving you into being.


For some fun, watch the blooper reel, watch here.