Friends (Easter 6)

May 19th, 2009 Posted in writing

Is it presumptuous to say that God is our friend? It would appear right to refer to him as creator and ruler or the one on whom we are utterly dependent and to whom we owe our love and obedience. But “friend”? The Christian answer is in chapter 15 of John’s gospel, where Jesus tells the disciples that they really are his friends.

Jesus wants us to befriend other people, too, and not just the ones we live with, study with, work with, or naturally like. Sometime we have trouble with that.  We are more likely to give all our love and attention to those we are closest to and those who are the easiest for us to be around. Emily Dickinson wrote that “The soul “selects her own society/ Then shuts the door.” But Jesus came to open doors, and when he opened the biggest one by ending our estrangement from God, he made it possible to open all the others as well.

There are many ways to define what the church is, but I think it’s that group of people who Jesus called his friends and asked to love all his other friends and not shot the door against anyone. That’s a tall order, but it’s the commandment Jesus gave us. Its realization, even if not 100%, is one of the most telling signs of the power of the Resurrection to make things new.

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