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As a kid, I loved this Gilligan’s Island! I would jump off of the school bus, race across the yard, bolt through the door and down the hall to dump my books off on my bed, get back to the living room just in time to plop on the floor 12 inches away from the screen (yes mom, I know I’ll hurt my eyes that way) just as Gilligan’s Island would begin at 4:00 on KPLR channel 11. What a great show! Two weeks ago I was flipping through the channels and guess what I found? It was the episode where Gilligan hurt his nose, the professor was going to do plastic surgery on him to give him a new one, but it was all a hoax to make Gilligan think he had surgery so he would leave it alone and the nose could heal naturally. And I thought to myself, “What a stupid show!” As ridiculous as the storyline of each episode was, I see in this small community of seven castaways several clear illustrations of what the idea of community means to us as a church.

First, you have seven people from all over the country, all different backgrounds, with different life stories all somehow finding their way to this one harbor to board a ship together and share a common experience. The wealthy Howell’s from New York, sweet, innocent MaryAnn from Kansas, Movie-star Ginger from Hollywood. As I look across our congregation I see people from the south, people from the north, people from right here. I see children, teenagers, college students, twenty-somethings, singles, married couples, middle-agers. I see people from catholic backgrounds, all different varieties of protestants, people who’ve been in church their whole life, people who are experiencing church life for the first time right here. I see people who have had relatively smooth peaceful lives. I see people bearing the scars of devastating trauma. And here we are, all somehow brought together at this moment in time to share a journey together.

We are much the same as that massive group of people who were gathered together on the day the church began. Acts 2:9-11 says that there were “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphilia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes.” Isn’t it interesting that God chose to birth the church in the midst of thousands of people gathered together from every corner of the known world? The church is at it’s best and strongest when it is made up of all different kinds of people with all different stories who come together and combine their individual stories into a great epic of God’s love.

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