God's Grace - Where everyone knows your name..... 

If you are a baby boomer or gen Xer, you probably recognize this line from the hit TV show Cheers (1982-1993) starring Ted Danson, Shelley Long and Woody Harrelson, among others. It was a catchy tune with memorable lyrics that produced a feeling of belonging. No matter what your worries of the day, you could always find comfort among friends at a local watering hole called Cheers. 

Several years ago, I attended a company awards trip in Boston with my teenage daughters. The original Cheers was first thing on my list of places to see. After a twenty minute walk along the "Freedom Trail", we walked in and a flood of memories came back to me. Trying to relate to my daughters, who had never seen the show, I shared the premise of how a group of people shared their lives with each other. Sure, there was good natured ribbing, lots of laughs and funny story lines. But the underlying theme was that of a diverse group of people sharing a part of their lives and supporting each other, no matter the circumstance.

Some examples include Sam's "play the field" reputation, Diane's staunch values and haughty air of being prim and proper, Cliff Clavin's know-it-all fact spouting, Norm's despising his job and wife but loving his beer and Woody's simple and naive ways. All are hallmarks of a melting pot of personalities underscored by a sense of belonging. 

As Christians and people of faith, we too want to feel like we belong. We want to go "where everybody knows our name". The cool thing is God knows us by name and has a place prepared for us where we can be ourselves, share our highs and lows and feel the love and acceptance of friends. To me, that place is God's Grace.

I have shared how much the men's group has meant to me over the past couple of years. While we meet at a Panera's Bread on Friday mornings, it is my "Cheers". It is a place I can share, support and be among friends. I feel no judgment or criticism as I share what's going on my life. This group of men, brothers in Christ, has been a great support during tough times. Much like the folks at Cheers, we come from different experiences, jobs and backgrounds. But we are always there for each other. Much like God is there for us. No judgment, no criticism. Just love, compassion and forgiveness. All are present when you are gathered among friends who love and support you. 

I consider myself blessed and honored to have found my church home, my "Cheers", in God's Grace. We are all fortunate to be a part of a special place with special people. It is my prayer that you all find a similar experience at our "Cheers", where everybody knows your name. 

Trace Tyler

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