Invited into Friendship
Ask any child who has moved to a new place and they will probably confirm that their biggest worry was if they’d make new friends. Parents worry for their teenager and young adult in each stage of growth, wondering if new friends will be kind and generous, if their daughter or son will find mutually beneficial relationships. Adults are not immune from their own relationship trials. Busy lives, competing priorities, transitions and death can mean the end of sustaining relationships. Bullying, fear-tactics and misuse of others are common problems, so friendship is precious. We treasure new friendships and work to keep tending those that last for many years—because we need them.
Today’s readings inspire and compel us to love one another and see one another as God does. As the Holy Spirit falls on those outside the inner circle of the circumcised, Peter asks how the water of baptism can be withheld. In 1 John we hear that those who love the parent love the child. Jesus says followers are no longer servants but friends. So whether they are a stranger with different customs and practices, our family member, or closest friend, we are called today with the challenge and opportunity to love them. The promise is that this unconditional love that comes first from our Creator and Parent, expressed through the person of Jesus and through the Spirit, is splashed all over us, and will make our joy complete.
For those who have experienced great relationships in their lives and for those who have never yet quite tasted that sustaining fruit, Jesus shows how much he loves us and the ways to cultivate deeper relationships. Jesus laid down his life to show his great love. We’re invited to love expansively and experience the joy of friendship with Jesus and through the body of Christ.
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