Welcome, Neighbor!

“Love one another.”
From John 13:34

The other day, I watched an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with my grandsons. The show is well done and has been the source of many discussions between me and the kids. It elicited precious memories. Daniel Tiger is one of Fred Roger’s make-believe friends from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood which I watched with my own sons too many decades ago. That effort wasn’t wasted as I truly tried to emulate Mr. Roger’s welcoming ways in my own life. His wisdom inspired my efforts, especially throughout my teaching career…

My most frustrating experiences were the result of observing stubborn or mean-spirited adults who refused to welcome others into the moment at hand as a neighbor would: A teacher who misrepresented a student rather than admit an error; a principal who refused to support a teacher whom she simply didn’t care for; a lunch monitor whose demeanor was less-than-welcoming toward “those” kids; a custodian who took his time when certain teachers called for help. This list exists in one form or another in just about every human institution, I know. How much more we’d accomplish if only we’d welcome one another as Fred Rogers -and Jesus- suggested.

Luke’s gospel tells us that a hungry homeless man, covered with sores, died on a rich man’s doorstep. He might have survived if the rich man had only welcomed him in. Today, God asks us to take notice of those above us, those below us and those who walk at our sides. “Take notice and welcome them all,” God says.

Patient God, I sometimes fail to offer your welcome. Please help me to see everyone around me with your loving eyes and to respond to each one with your loving heart.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Judge Little and Love A Lot!

“If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

From Luke 16:31

The most frustrating times of my career in education were the result of observing stubborn or mean-spirited adults who refused to do the right thing: A teacher who simply wouldn’t admit an error; a principal who refused to back a teacher whom she didn’t much care for; a lunch monitor who exhibited an attitude toward “those” kids; a custodian who took his time when certain teachers called for help. This list, which goes on and on, exists in just about every human institution. As our school secretary used to say, “Jesus himself could show them different and they’d still act that way!”

Luke’s gospel tells us that a hungry homeless man, covered with sores, died on a rich man’s doorstep because the man simply didn’t notice him. It seems to me that this story challenges us to respond differently to those around us. Today, God asks us to take notice of those above us, those below us and those who walk at our sides. “Take notice, and take care of them all,” God says.

Patient God, I sometimes judge those I encounter in spite of knowing that you have given them to me to love. Please help me to see each one with your loving eyes and to respond to each one with your loving heart.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved