In preparation for a lesson I am writing for Sunday’s “Starting Point” at Wildwood, I found myself thinking about the theme songs to some of America’s most loved situation comedies over the past 3 decades. In the 1980’s, America loved “Cheers.” In the 1990’s, we loved our “Friends.” In the 2000’s, we went to work in “The Office.” All of these sitcoms boasted ensemble casts that demonstrated “community” for us. The location of this community did not matter to us. Whether the community happened in a neighborhood bar, a coffee shop, or an office complex, we were attracted to it, every week in 30 minute installments.
What is it about these shows that create such magnetism and staying power? Of course they are well written and well acted, but each of these shows has a central subject matter that draws us in . . . friendship.
God created humanity with a need for each other. Just as Sam needs Diane and Norm needs Cliff, so Adam needed Eve in the Garden (it was not good for him to be alone.) Upon moving into the real world, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross found out that they needed each other to survive . . . in the same way, when Jesus left this world, He created the church as His Body interdependently needing each other to thrive in God’s purpose. Jim longs to be with Pam and Michael longs to be with the others in the office, just as Paul longs to be with the church in Rome. These sitcoms echo some of our deep needs for belonging and fellowship.
That is why we flock to our TV’s to watch community, and that is why Christ has us “not forsake gathering together” in church. Remember that the next time you hear one of these theme songs play out . . . it is a reminder that we have a need that the Body (more than the bar, the coffee shop, or the office) was designed to meet.