Friends and family are vitally important to us. They keep us grounded, they help to define us. They are the ones we call on when we are in trouble. We are the ones who care for them when they need us.
The word “friend” has been rather debased by social media, hasn’t it? A friend isn’t just a nodding acquaintance. A real friend is someone we can rely on, someone who knows us inside out and who still loves us for who we are. It doesn’t matter if we are not rich, or good looking, or incredibly clever we know that we are loved by our friends.
We can learn a lot about true friendship from Jesus.
Jesus must have been a very attractive, charismatic man, people flocked to him and absolutely loved him, so it stands to reason that he could have chosen just about anyone to be one of his special friends.
However the ones he did choose were a motley crew. There was Peter – always rushing into a situation before his brain was engaged, there was Thomas the pedant, who needed absolute proof of everything and James and John who wanted to be first before the others – but surprisingly he loved them all as they were!
An important lesson for us, and for those obsessed by how many friends or likes they have on social media
Older generations are luckier. They have mostly learned (sometimes the hard way!) just who their real friends are. For us, we might well have a bulging address book and receive lots of Christmas cards every year, but there are usually only a handful of true friends who we would call if we were in trouble. We know who they are, even though we don’t see them very often, we know that they would drop everything to come to us if they were needed.
And families, what about families? It is strange, isn’t it,
that when we are growing up we think that our family set up, whatever it’s
dynamics and particular quirks, is quite normal?
It is only when we get to know people outside our family circle and visit different homes that we begin to appreciate just how diverse families can be. There are some big happy families; some small, some close, and some are divided and unhappy.
As Christians we are members of a wider family, all beloved children of God, but all very different. What ties us together so strongly is that we are united in our love for him and his love for us.
All friendships and family ties need to be nurtured. During Lent which starts on Wednesday 6th March, instead of giving something up, why don’t we try to do something positive instead? We all have friends and loved ones who we don’t hear from as often as we should. Why don’t we reinforce and sustain our precious relationships by picking up the phone, or writing a note to someone we haven’t seen for a while, just to let them know we are thinking of them?
Within our wider church family in the Benefice, especially in this time of interregnum, perhaps more of us could attend services in churches other than our own? So don’t let’s take a “Sunday off” when we haven’t a service in our own parish church, go and enjoy worship with our wider church family and friends.
It was said of the people in the early church “See how these Christians love one another” But that shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone, it is only doing what Jesus has told us to do – to love one another.