God Moves Into the Neighborhood

By Rev. Kevin Lester, Sanctuary Campus Pastor

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?”

These lyrics kicked off every episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” – the children’s program that ran from (can you believe it…) 1968 to 2001. As a kid, I caught episodes of the show on PBS, and I was struck that it sort of existed between two worlds – there was the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” where segments with puppets and fantasy stories took place, but most of the show took place in a pretty realistic neighborhood. The show’s creators wanted to introduce children to the kinds of people they might run into during life every day – teachers, public servants, shopkeepers, artists, and laborers. On “Mr. Rogers,” stories took place to help kids learn to navigate and live in their own real neighborhoods.

Imagine if the show’s writers came up with an idea for a new character on the show: “God.” Really – what if in one episode, after changing into his cardigan and sneakers, Fred got a knock at his door, and opened it to find God standing in the doorway? What would their conversation be like? What kinds of things would God stop by to do, to say, to ask for? What kind of neighbor would God be? And how would the other people react – what kind of neighbors would Fred, Officer Clemmons, Mr. McFeely, and the others be to God? Would life in town continue pretty much as normal, or would there be a lot of changes?

This is exactly what we are going to be thinking about as we go into our next sermon series! As we head toward Lent, we are going to read stories from the Gospels to see: What does happen when God moves into the neighborhood? And, if we believe that the Holy Spirit still “abides” with us today in our homes, our church, and our town – what does that mean? What is God up to? How can we live well with God?

I am excited to be looking into the life of Jesus together for the next couple of months! It’s going to be great way to start a new year, and for us to discover God’s presence in our daily lives, and to introduce our Holy Neighbor to our kids, friends, and neighbors for the first time!

Make sure to tune in with us, every week 🙂

-Pastor Kevin

· 8:30 and 10 a.m. Traditional service in Magee Campus sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
· 10 a.m. Modern service at Sanctuary Campus
· 10 a.m. Magee Campus youth and children’s Sunday School (except fifth Sundays) and child care
· 10 a.m. Traditional service livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

Worship online at 10 a.m. on Sundays at umcstmarks.org/live-worship or YouTube UMC St. Mark’s AZ. You can also watch the service at a later time.