“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17
Jesus said, … “I have called you friends…” John 15:15
The landowner replied, “Friend…” Matthew 20:13
One of the realities of the pandemic is that many of us have not been able to see our friends in person as much as we usually see them. We have “made do” by keeping in contact through texts, phone calls, written notes, FaceTime or Zoom calls, and in a few cases, by including them in our “bubbles” and actually seeing them in person.
Having friends and growing friendships in relationships are at the heart of the life in community that God created for us when God created us and all people. Friendship is echoed throughout the Bible from the Proverbs in the Old Testament to the life and teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Life itself would not seem to be very livable if we did not have friends who stayed by us in all of the ups and downs of our daily lives. Sharing with our friends often heightens the joys of life’s most fulfilling events and moments! We give thanks for our friends every day!
The landowner in the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard shows us how approaching life’s challenging occasions from the perspective of friendship can lead us to discovers life as God intends it for us. When one of his employees came to him complaining because he thought he had been treated unfairly, the landowner disarms him by calling him “friend.” A smile and a friendly greeting often go a long way to establishing a conversation where all participants can be respectful to each other and listen to what each is saying. True, it doesn’t always work that way, but from the perspective of what living as a follower of Jesus means, it may well be the bedrock of relationships as God intends. Sometimes even friends need to have difficult conversations and respect each other’s differences.
So take a moment or more today to recall in your mind’s eye some of your friends. Thank God for them and say a little prayer for each one. Think of one or more of your friends with whom you will be in touch and how and when you will do that.
Gracious God, you have called us friends and showed us through Jesus and others what friendship is like through their living examples. We thank you for our friends and the many ways they love and support us. Guide us to be friends ourselves and to establish new friendships with persons you introduce to us in our lives. Amen.