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  • Wayne Chasney

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Weekly Meditation

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)

"Cheers" remains one of my all-time favorite TV shows. I felt like I was a part of the family that gathered at Sam's bar, along with Diane and Woody, Cliff and Norm. It was, in its day, "must watch TV" for me.

Some of the best scenes were those where Norm, played by the future Hallmark Channel 'Santa' George Wendt, would walk into the bar, and everyone would shout, "Norm!" Then someone would ask Norm a typically Boston greeting question like, "What's shakin', Norm?" or "How's it goin', Norm?" In one of my favorite responses, Norm says while walking to his seat at the bar, "It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear." Classic.

Life feels that way sometimes, for sure. It's a dog-eat-dog world. Life is a constant battle. It's a problem to be solved. And I don't know about you but some days I, too, feel like I am wearing Milk Bone underwear.

This is why Jesus' words from his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34) are so near and dear to my heart, and my faith. It can be far too easy to get caught up in the battle, the struggle, the problem that life can seem to be, and I become just another dog fighting for scraps in a dog-eat-dog world. When that happens, I know I need to turn back to Jesus' assurance that life is more.

I can soar like the birds of the air, and so can you.

I am as beautiful as the lilies of the field, and so are you.

I am cared for by a loving God regardless of my production or apparent worldly value. And so are you.

Lent is a good time to step back and look at life through a different lens, not as a problem to be solved or a battle to be won, but rather a joy to be embraced and a wonderful opportunity to love and be loved.

My dream for the beloved community of God is one where we all lay down our arms, leave the Milk Bones for the real dogs, and become more aware of the wonder and beauty and abundance all around us.

Sometimes, I like to think of God's beloved kingdom as a small, downstairs bar, "where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came."

Cheers to that!

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