“Where Everybody Knows Your Name” is the theme song from the 1980s television sitcom Cheers. The song (here,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvRGh2NEjSU),written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo, pricked the soul of a nation and became an anthem of longing for a generation adrift; a generation in search of a place of welcome. A place where “everybody knows your name”!
Cheers, which nearly tanked in season 1, went on to run for a precedent setting eleven seasons, becoming an American Television Classic.
The characters Sam, Coach, Woody, Diane, Norm and Cliff are iconic. The success of Cheers rests, no doubt in large part, with the writers who imagined a place we all wish existed in our communities, congregations, clubs and civic arenas.
Yet, deeper still – probably unknown to the shows script writers, Cheers tapped into a ancient desire planted in Creation: the desire to be welcomed and received.
Indeed, Cheers painted a weekly picture of welcome and reception. Each episode extended the hope of welcome but always left us longing for more. The reason, I believe, we were (and are) always left longing for more is because the hope extended by Cheers – and shows like Cheers – is a hope the Gospel and a Gospel grounded people are uniquely designed to fulfill!
To discover why the Art of Welcome is the unique province of the Gospel of God and consider why the sacred community continues to distort what the secular world so vividly portrays, read on!