In the hit show, “Cheers,” that ran on NBC for 11 seasons from 1982-93 it seemed like everybody’s favorite character was Norm, played by George Wendt. Every time Norm would walk into the Boston pub everyone else would endearingly greet him by saying his name enthusiastically.
I think it’s in middle school when most of us begin to wonder what other people think of us. We wonder if we’ll be accepted, if we will fit in, if anyone will know our name or care to know our story. If we’re honest that curiosity about what others think of us lingers well into adulthood.
As my family and I get settled into Unity UMC, you have to know that I’ve always wanted to belong to a place like Cheers. I think the church is supposed to be like that. A place where people know you by name. And not just the Pastor’s name, because that would be easy. I want to belong to a place where we know each other’s names and each others stories.
This past weekend I challenged everyone in worship to invite someone to their house for a meal, someone they may not normally invite. Just to eat. Just to share life. And I would love to hear how that is going. If you invited someone to your house - email me the story of how that went at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The truth is that the God of the universe knows your name. That same God knows my name. God knows the names of people who we easily forget and those who feel they do not matter. This weekend say hi to someone you don’t know. Ask them their name. Maybe even invite them to dinner. Because when we do those things, the Kingdom of God breaks in to this space.
I have called you by name, you are mine. - Isaiah 43:1