From Rev Helen Lynch July 2019
as published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life
Rev Helen Lynch
When I was in the Brownies we used to sing this little song:
`Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold'
Friends are such a gift, there with us to share in the joys and laughter. They're also there for us when things aren't going so well. They're the people who we don't quite get round to seeing for months, and then we slip comfortably right back into one another's presence. They're the people who know just how to make us laugh, and what we're going to find difficult. They're the people who know all about us, and still like us anyway
This month, on the 29th of July, the church commemorates Mary, Martha, and Lazarus - 'Companions of Our Lord'. It is clear from the times they are mentioned in the Gospels that they were close friends of Jesus. It was after the death of Lazarus that we find that stark sentence: 'Jesus wept'
How amazing it must have been to count Jesus as a friend. And what a privilege for Jesus to have good friends in Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Here were people who were happy just to see him, welcoming him in without any expectations of profound speeches, or healing, or amazing wonders. “Come in Jesus, put your feet up, I'm making your favourite tea! Tell me what you've been up to”
In the Gospels we hear about Jesus' work and ministry and about some of the meals he had with his friends. But there's not so much description of their downtime, the times they spent just hanging around, chatting, relaxing. But being a friend is an essential human experience, so why wouldn't Jesus have spent time enjoying the company of his friends. Having a bit of down time - being the Saviour of the world must have its exhausting moments!
Friends old and new are to be treasured, whether we see them all the time, or only once in a blue moon. It is a blessing for us to be there for them through thick and thin, and a blessing to know that they've got our backs too. And don't underestimate the power of a praying friend. Sometimes we struggle to know how to help someone, but what a wonderful gift it is to hear a friend say “I'm praying for you”
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