Thank You For Being a Friend
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:12-14 (NRSV)
As a young Girl Scout, I remember well the evenings spent around a crackling campfire, roasting marshmallows for s'mores and locking arms around each other as we sang these familiar words ... "Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold. A circle is round; it has no end; that's how long I will be your friend."
While enjoying the innocent camaraderie of those moments, I could not possibly have known that I would soon leave those friends behind, or that I would move more than twenty times during my life. How little did I know that I would develop many "silver" friendships with each move, or how my life would be enriched by cultivating the beauty of "golden" relationships over the years.
Funny how certain words return to you in the most unexpected of times. I invited a "new" friend to dinner last Saturday, enjoying the energizing and stimulating conversation of the "getting to know" you phase of friendship. Very early this morning, I received a Facebook message from an "old" friend whose heart is heavy, asking me to pray for a young lady very near and dear to her who has recently been diagnosed with cancer.
Friendships are the blessings of life. Friends give us the support needed during tough times, the shoulder to cry on, or someone we can be silly with, laughing over embarrassing situations. Most importantly, a friend is someone who chooses us, becoming family by choice.
According to Jewish custom, disciples normally chose the particular Rabbi to whom they wanted to be attached, but it was not so with Jesus' disciples. In the scripture passage above, Jesus said to his disciples, "You are my friends if you do what I command you ... you did not choose me, but I chose you ... this I command you that you love one another." John 15:14, 16, 17 (NRSV).
To each of you reading this today, thank you for being a friend, a brother or sister in Christ whom I love.
Prayer for Today
Gracious and loving God, we thank you for friendship - one of life's greatest gifts. We thank you for our friends who love us, laugh with us, support us, and sometimes sustain us. May our lives reflect your love for us as we honor Jesus' commandment to love one another. Amen.