Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Friendship is a sheltering tree"

This week, Southland celebrates the life of two wonderful men, Lonny Whitehorn and Dwain Dodson. Sitting with both of these families this week, I’ve been reminded once again that more than anything else, life is about relationships. Family, friendship, community these are gifts from God. They’re what make life worthwhile.

When we search the scriptures, what we learn from the very beginning, is that life was meant to be lived together. Creation itself speaks to this great truth. For what good is a creation, thought God, without someone to share it with. Remember the story. After each day of creation God would look at it and say, “It is good.” But after creating man and woman on that sixth day, after creating someone who could share in the wonders of what had been made, only then did God look at it and declare, “It was very good.”

Relationships are what constantly transform things from being good, to being very good. We’ve all seen it. A joke, that’s pretty funny on its own becomes hysterical when shared with the right set of friends. A story that’s decent enough, all the sudden becomes a classic when shared among the right companions. Friendship makes meals taste better, conversations richer, and vacations more memorable. Friendship makes our days a little brighter.

Friends do more than make life a little sweeter. They make trials more bearable. The book of Proverbs tells us “A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity” (17:17). It doesn’t take very much living in this life to recognize that adversity comes to each one of us. God has never promised us a life without trouble – but in our friends and family and church – he’s promised to give us everything we need to persevere. I think of Jesus in the Garden. On the eve before his death, even there, especially there, the Son of God chose not to be alone but to be among his friends.

Samuel Coleridge wrote a poem titled “Youth and Age” with the line, “Friendship is a sheltering tree.” What a great image. Friends are those people in our lives who provide shade from life’s heat, refuge from life’s winds. You can find comfort in their arms, strength in their faith. Their words, like sweet fruit can bring encouragement to your soul.

Both Lonny and Dwain blessed our faith community through friendships they developed. We are grateful to have called them our friends.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends. – Jesus, in John 15:15


Good reads from the internet this week
  1. Brian Williams and the Ugly Allure of Embellishing the Truth – Brian Kammerzelt resists the urge to pile on the hate towards Brian Williams. Instead, he turns the attention back on our own hearts and the lessons we can learn from another’s mistake.
  2. MySpace? My friend, Pastor Katie McKown, writes about the sacredness of relationships and the space that makes those relationships possible. A beautiful essay that will move anyone who has a treasured space in a church building.
  3. Lenten People and Easter People – Another friend, Craig Nash explores the ways different people can embody the already and the not yet of the Christian faith. He encourages us to learn to love and to learn from each other in the mist of our differences.

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