Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way. – Psalm 85:8-13
Verses 10 and 11 reminded me of the new documentary about Fred Rogers playing in our downtown Tampa Theatre, Won’t You Be My Neighbor. My husband and I went to see it two weeks ago.
The documentary shows how Rogers’ children’s show got started and how he used it over 30 years to teach and accompany children. This movie shows how he gently gave children obvious advice: You are special just the way you are.
In this passage we read, “Love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Mr. Rogers had a way of demonstrating what it looks like when love and faithfulness accompany one another and what it means when peace and righteousness kiss each other.
He did this so beautifully. Quite often, Mr. Rogers would slow down time, be silent for long periods as he fed his fish, so much so the viewer could almost feel Mr. Rogers’ love seeping through the TV. Occasionally Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood touched politics. During the civil rights era, when black kids were being thrown out of swimming pools, Rogers and a black character bathed their feet together in a tub. After Bobby Kennedy was killed, Rogers gently explained what an assassination was.
Rogers often comforted children on the show and taught them in simple terms, but the documentary shows how he did so with a profound respect for the dignity of each individual child. If you’re needing to be reminded that good people do exist or what goodness looks and feels like or what it means when love and faithfulness meet, try to see the documentary.
“Mr. Rogers and the loveliness of the little good,” Tampa Bay Times, July 8, 2018, pg. 13A.