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“…Instead I have called you friends….”
John 15:15b, New International Version
This is a picture of a picture. A dear Brother in Christ is a photographer. In his mid-90’s he still travels the unsung trails of northern California, snapping photographs. This one he took years ago while visiting his son in Australia. He gave the photograph to me. Indicative of his wit, he penciled the following on the white matte below the picture: “Are you sure your mom said it was alright for us to do this?”
The photograph is in my office and it reminds me of a couple things—my Brother gives me permission to think and do things others might tell me not to. So does my God, for that matter, frequently. The second reminder is more important for me: it reminds me of the Brother who gave it to me. It reminds me of our friendship. It reminds me of Friday mornings at the Church Office when he would bring yesterdays-donuts, gleaned from some luncheon he had crashed, and we would sit with cups of coffee, making the donuts edible by dunking them, and chatting about all kinds of things. Invariably we ended up chatting about Church and faith and the Lord and fellowship. Always, he would chuckle his irascible chuckle and I would be glad of our friendship and our time together.
My friend Don is for me a type of and reminder of Christ himself. Jesus calls me ‘friend’. He calls you ‘friend’ as well, by the way. Did you know? Do you remember? Don taught me that I can practice my friendship with Jesus by practicing it with my Christian Sisters and Brothers—by being Christ. And being Christ is being a friend.
I hope to get some time to walk a beach this summer. Perhaps with my wife, and perhaps our grandsons. Maybe we’ll dress in penguin suits. Probably not. But we will be together as Friends—friends in Jesus. Find a friend today and practice the gift Christ gives. Practice the gift that is Christ.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO