"The space between the television set and the viewer is holy ground" - Mister Rogers

Hi friends,

Mister Rogers was a Presbyterian minister and the host of the very popular PBS TV program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

I recently read a fascinating quote from him that I wanted to share and discuss. According to an interview with Amy Hollingsworth,

[Mr. Rogers] said: “I’m so convinced that the space between the television set and the viewer is holy ground. And what we put on the television can, by the Holy Spirit, be translated into what this person needs to hear and see, and without that translation it’s all dross as far as I’m concerned.”

“And that translation, that’s happened many, many times, hasn’t it?” I asked.

“It surely has. Yes. In fact, there have been times when people have said, ‘You know that program in which you did such and such and said such and such,’ and I’ll look back at the script, I hadn’t said that at all—but that person would say to me, ‘That meant so much to me.’ And I thought, ‘Well, happily, you got the words that you needed at that moment.’”

So often, I think of TV shows as entertainment (and often, they are!).

But Fred Rogers approached his TV show as a ministry. He prayed for God to be at work through the production of each show. So, he trusted the Holy Spirit to work in each person’s heart as they watched what he and his team created.

What’s encouraging is that he so often heard people say that God had worked in their lives because they watched the show - but in a way that went far beyond anything he did or said.

Think of how God works through the reading of the Bible to help us gain wisdom, hope, or strength to love someone. Often, what we get from the Bible isn’t exactly what the text says, but it still helps us to live like Jesus.

I wonder, too, how God might use an online community like this one to touch people’s hearts in ways that go beyond what we expected from this ministry? With each post we have an opportunity to minister to someone we may never meet, and for God to do a work we could never imagine.

What do you think of Mister Rogers’ approach to ministry via a TV program?

How does his faith in God encourage you, in whatever ministry you are called to do?

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