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If you turned on a television even a few times in the 1980’s there’s a good chance you know this guy…NORM!

The theme in song and spirit of the long-running sit com Cheers is of a special place where everyone is known by name, everyone belongs, and everyone is welcome.  Norm is the centerpiece of this theme, arriving in each episode to a collective choral cheer of Norm! and then taking his place on the stool at the corner of the bar.  Without Norm and his witty, sarcastic asides the place just isn’t the same.

This Sunday after worship the Deacons will lead us in our annual celebration of what it means to belong.  We will share in a meal and fellowship.  We will rejoice with those who have belonged to Hanover for more than 50 years!  Just as much, we will renew our sense of the power of membership: what it means to be in a place where every one is known by name; where every one belongs; and when any one is missing, the body just isn’t the same.

God knew the power of Cheers long before Norm: the beauty and wonder of belonging is that it seals a symbiotic relationship.  It is by virtue of the gifts of those who belong that any community is special; at the same time those who belong are molded and supported by the values of that community.  Members create meaning, and meaning creates members.

May God bless our celebration, that through it we would know and rejoice in the place we belong.

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