The Value of a Friend

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

         I just passed some time with a dear friend of twenty years or more. We’re the kind of friends who know everything about one another and love one another regardless. Or maybe we love one another because of what we know: that we each in turn have made bad bargains, suffered needlessly over things that turn out to matter not so much, and sometimes suffered too little over the things that do.

Despite changes in both our geography, we understand without saying that when life unravels, or not, there is someone in the world willing to hear our story without judgment. That is not to say that whatever we do is ok. Sometimes a friend risks the strain of any worthy friendship by telling the truth in love, having known our best self and wanting it for our sake. A true friend serves as both champion when encouragement is needful, and challenger when only a swift kick in the backside will do.

When Jesus said that greater love has no one than this, but to lay down one’s life for one’s friend, he knew this. The covenant to love one another as God loves us is precious and costly. When we call one another beloved friends in Christ, we claim a commitment to authenticity and transparency lacking in the public square.

How gracious is our God, who gifts us with all things needful for abundant life, not the least of which are the deep friendships that endure over time. How compassionate is our God, which we receive within our community of faith, the companionship of friends who love us and encourage us and champion us, and we them, as mutual followers of the way of Christ.

Prayer: We pause in these moments to thank you, Holy One, for reminding us that we are beloved and cherished without proof, through the constancy and generosity of friends. Amen

God’s Grace, Mercy and Peace,

Pastor Verlee A. Copeland

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Andover-Newton Seminary hosts a two-day summit October 22-23, 2015 called “Subverting the Gospel of Guns”. Cost of the event is $35. Please see Pastor Verlee for more information.

“…no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth…”