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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

June 11, 2010

BOUND TOGETHER

About 15 years ago, I went up to Detroit to see a Rock Concert. The headliner was a big star in the 70’s & 80’s, and frankly is still pretty big today. A bit less hair, stronger glasses, but he remains a top draw on the concert circuit. It is for certain that his audience has a bit less hair (or it’s gray), a few more pounds and long cherished memories of when they first heard his music.

But, after driving for a couple hours to Detroit, then getting into the concert arena, it struck me that the people who attended the concert and were my age, had memories of this man’s songs too. There were probably 20,000 of us. And I had to wonder if each of them first heard this artist while in college and high school and associated him with that particular time in their lives.

I recall listening to him for hours on end after the death of my father while I was in college and frankly would credit him with easing those long winter months. Perhaps my journey to Detroit was a way of thanking him.

What were the stories of the rest of the concert fans? Did this rock star bring them through the best and the worst times of their lives too? I watched the thousands as they lined the stairs and ramps making their way to their seats and I wondered if it ever occurred to the artist that he had struck a common chord in all of our lives in some intimate way (no pun intended). It amazed me that we all shared a common experience though we did not know each other and lived in different geographic places. Somehow we shared something almost spiritual through the artist’s songs.

I’m certain that if I heard his songs now, for the first time, I would not be able to relate so well to them. But, I heard them when I was 20 and vulnerable and they carry a lot of weight for me.

As I write this, I note that it is June 6, 2010. June 6. That is a very significant day in the life of this country and especially in the lives of our veterans who were there at Normandy on D-Day 1944. There was a common goal of service and getting off the beach and onto the land, but there are thousands and thousands of individual stories of that day. And there are stories of non-combatants on that day. I am struck by common memories which have individual accents.

What do Vietnam Vets think upon standing before the wall in Washington D.C.? What do football stars from the 1980 Super Bowl team have in common? What do the first-responders from 9-11 in New York City share that we cannot? What stories do retiring teachers recall from 40 years of teaching in one building? What does she have in common with all the other teachers of that building, even though those thoughts have not been expressed out loud?

We spend so much time and energy these days trying to see how we differ, one group from another. It’s easier to be angry at a group different from us than carefully exploring in what ways we are similar and what experiences bind us. I suspect we have more in common than we care to admit. But, exploring commonality takes so much more time and care. It’s easier to “name-call” those who are different than to find a common bond. I think we would be surprised if we truly explored that which we have in common.

A couple years ago I got a call from a young woman. I hadn’t seen her in years but I know her parents well and she was a part of the Youth Groups at my previous church. I had participated in many events with her family, like marriages and funerals; meals and celebrations. But that was years ago. She had been living out of state and it never occurred to me that she even remembered me very much.

But she called and it was good to hear her and she said she was engaged and asked, would I do the wedding. “I always imagined that someday when I got married, that you would do the service!” she explained. I was touched.

Common experiences, left unspoken until now. And now we find that we have been bound together all along.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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