A week after our Festival of Hymns service I found myself continuing to sing the old classic What a Friend We Have in Jesus in my head. The theme of friendship was resonating within me.
One morning listening to the radio as I drove to work I was awakened to the use of the word friend in several commercials. Tom Shane bellowed, "Now you have a friend in the diamond business." The next commercial followed in line as the host said, "My friend, Mark Spain." The concept of friendship in these commercials in intended to create a good feeling and a sense of familiarity. However, in this use it is really about a transaction of convenience for profit.
Jesus had a different understanding of friendship. Hear what he says to his disciples as recorded in the gospel of John:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. -John 15: 9-15
Yesterday, on our World Day of Communion we made new friends of Jesus around the communion and fellowship tables. Our friends are members of Casa Brasil, Crossings Community Presbyterian Church and World Healing Ministries. Rev. Lindsay Armstrong preached a sermon entitled Be Open and my prayer is that we remain open to the working of God's Spirit in our lives because we are in the midst of some wonderful friends. Be Open and grow in God's abundant grace!