I am very fortunate to have many good friends, in my town and around the country. They challenge, support, and sustain me. They are the source of lots of fun and joy, whether by phone or in person. This morning I was out for a walk on a beautiful day when a friend drove past in her truck, recognized me, and waved. Automatically I waved back, smiled broadly, and felt my heart touched–ah, this is a good day.
I have a friend with whom my husband Ralph and I regularly take hiking trips as couples. Ralph picks out where we go, my friend finds a place to stay, Ralph picks out the hikes, I find wildflowers and interesting things on the trail, my friend takes pictures of them, and her husband brings up the rear finding things we miss and keeping us altogether. Each of us has a part to play, and the whole is much richer than any one part or even their sum.
Ralph loves for me to bake a fruit pie. It doesn’t happen very often because they take a long time to make and no time to finish eating. I have another friend with whom Ralph once shared a piece of his apple pie. Ever since then she has been begging me to make an apple pie for her. One day I will, because her friendship has enriched my life beyond measure, including introducing me to people, places, and ideas that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
True friendship—with its equality, intimacy, and oneness—is special. Jesus tells us that if we obey his command to love one another, we will be his friends. We will not be servants or slaves to a master whom we must fear and obey for the benefit of the master’s business, which of course we do not know. If we love, we will be one with Jesus and with God, and can do much good that will last. It isn’t easy to love, but we have help. It is quite an invitation.
Who are your friends and what do they mean to you? How are you as a friend?
What is it, or would it be, like to be a friend of Jesus?
Begin by thinking of a neighbor friend and hold that person in God’s love and light. Next, but not too quickly, move to a special friend from past or present and do the same. And lastly to someone not yet a friend or even to someone who is very hard to like. Again, hold that person in God’s love and light. Thank Jesus for his offer of friendship with you. Thank God for God’s love of you.
For further reflection:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (See John 15: 9-17).
“And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him” (See Mark 2: 2-12).