Henri Nouwen compared community to a mosaic, adding that community is not simple or easy. Amen and Amen!
In the spring of 2010 I started watching The Biggest Loser. Janice heard near the end of the season and said that in the fall we’d have to watch it together. So, last fall we started watching it when we were both in town and had fun discussing it at other times. Turns out Janice can’t remember names and had clever nicknames for the contestants. A neighbor’s husband was out of town in December and she started watching it by herself to fill the time. We would discuss what had happened in the halls and on the stairwell. And like that, a small community was born. One that now had members we didn’t really know but have grown to love. Bob. Jillian. The Pink Team. And ones that we did know and through the experience got to know better.
By the spring of 2011 we discovered that four of us huddled around a computer wasn’t really the way to watch, forcing me to turn to a technology expert to solve this problem. A teenager. She kindly explained the finer points of downloading so that we could watch it on a TV. We needed to set a regular time: Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m.in the conference room. And word spread. Soon we were joined by others and our community grew; weekly popcorn made by Karl was a given. On “make over week” we had a potluck composed of only healthy foods. For the finale we had red velvet cupcakes. We’d discuss it afterwards and replayed it in our conversations during the week.
This fall we have continued. My piece has been to download the shows and somehow I have grown to be in charge of it. How did this go from me watching alone to being the leader of this community?! This fall the internet has been pesky and I spend more time than I want on Thursdays and Fridays getting ready for7:00 p.m.when theBLT(Biggest Loser Team) meets. I fuss. Weekly (and let’s be honest, sometimes hourly) say, “That’s it. I’m done! I do not want to be a slave to this weekly albatross!” Why does my piece of the mosaic of community involve the internet, something so time consuming and unreliable?!
But then we meet and I’m reminded that community is not simple and easy, but it can be beautiful. Last night one of the most loyal members brought all of the guests to his eleven-year-old birthday party and as they laid on the floor cheering for the black team, he beamed. His mom emailed me today saying how excited he was that “his friends were so into the show” (and we all enjoyed his birthday cake when we took an intermission break). Every Monday morning he updates his classmates what happened on Friday night. Another member had a Chinese friend over for dinner and they all joined us; we’ve gone international! Afterwards a subgroup hung around, continuing a conversation started early in the week about Titus 3 and submitting to authority.
I’ll probably fuss again this Thursday and Friday, but when we gather I’m reminded that when two are three are gathered in The name –and because it’s about relationships, redemption, and restoration, I see a Greater Name than just the Biggest Loser at work—I am there. Amen and Amen.