Friends!  For most of us it is a happy word.  I remember when friends were the people you rode your bicycle with on your way to play a baseball game.  A friend’s house became some of our first forays into the world outside of our home and family.  Eating a meal at a friends table was the first place I got to practice the habits of manners that my grandma drilled into me.  You never feel alone in a crowd if you have friend by your side.

Since I do not live in the place where I grew up, my friends have come and gone and I have needed to make friends all along the way.  I was reading in John’s gospel, that Jesus calls His disciples friends.  Jesus goes on to define friends as those to whom you reveal your plans.  Jesus takes friendship to whole new level.  When He says that a friend will lay down His life for their friends.  Leave it to Jesus to elevate every relationship and redefine it through the lens of grace.  If you can find an old hymnal somewhere, notice that there are several songs about friendship: “What a friend we have in Jesus”, and “Friendship with Jesus” just to name a couple.  Jesus is not only our Savior, He is our Friend!

For some it is more difficult to make friends, and I know that someone reading this is in desperate need of friend right now!  Jesus is your friend.  The best advice I ever received about having friends was given to me a long time ago.  I was told if you want a friend be a friend.  If you go looking to find friends they will be hard to come by, but if go out seeking to be a friend, you will find them everywhere.

I just got home a pastors retreat.  At the retreat there were young pastors and some not quite so young.  Yet we played, worshipped and visited and ate together, and these activities are the building blocks of friendship.  One of the things I celebrate about friendship, is that most of what I know today I learned from a friend.  Today let us celebrate friends and friendship.  How about it?   Let’s be friends!!!

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