Picking up from yesterday’s post on John Stott:
John Stott said that in addition to public worship and watching and listening to birds that experiencing friendship is when he was most alive. Friendship is more than having friends; we may have many “friends” but not experience friendship, not friendship to the depth in which friendship has been historically understood and written about. We can have many friends just like we can have many cousins of the opposite sex who we give a peck on the cheek to, but the cousins are not our spouse and a peck on the cheek is all they get and it is all we receive.
Friendship is transcendent, it takes us out of ourselves, it takes both people out of themselves and the whole is greater that the sum of the parts. Marriage, the communion of saints, and friendship all have this in common: they transcend the individuals involved in those relationships; the husband and wife are still individuals but they are more than individuals, the people in a congregation are still individuals but they are more than individuals – indeed the congregation is more than simply a local congregation, and two friends are still two distinct people but they are more than two distinct people. When I think of our friends David and Sally Zuck I think of a husband and wife but I think of more than a husband and wife – I think of a third entity (substance) that is David and Sally. When I think of my friends Mel and Bruce, who have been friends since “in the beginning”, I think of a special substance, a friendship that is Mel and Bruce. I am friends with both Mel and with Bruce, and when the three of us are together (which is too seldom these days) we have our own dynamic, but I am also keenly aware (and rejoice in) the lifelong friendship that is “Mel and Bruce”.
Friendship is a rare jewel, sometimes born of affinity, sometimes of pressure, oftentimes redeemed from misunderstanding and pain. Friendship is like a mine deep with shafts and tunnels unseen on the surface, the observer may see the precious stones and metals brought forth from the mine but will seldom see the depths in which such things are hewn.
In the Upper Room Jesus calls the apostles His friends, and by extension He calls us friends – do we accept His offer of friendship? How deep are the shafts and tunnels of our friendship with Jesus? With others?