This coming Sunday in my church we will celebrate All Saints Day, a special Sunday on the first Sunday of November every year when we remember and honor the saints in our church family who have died in the past year, people of all ages who have touched our lives and made a difference.
As I’ve been reading over the list of names to be read this year I reflected on each of their lives and the difference they made in the lives of family and friends. And then I started remembering those close friends I have loved and lost over the years. There is something about having a good, close friend that’s hard to describe. Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed it like this:
“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”
So today I would invite you to think about your friends.
You’ve heard me mention before about a group of friends I am blessed with. They are my covenant brothers and we’ve been sharing friendship together for about 30 years now. They are my spiritual mentors in our shared faith, friends I can always count on for advice and support. Although we only meet twice a year I always know when we get together I’ll receive some wise counsel on how to live this life and ministry.
We all need friends like that….dependable, wise, gentle guides who walk with us and remind us, as only a good friend can, that we are better than we might think we are at any given moment. Whenever I spend time with my brothers I always feel better about myself and my life. That’s what good friends do…they give each other confidence and hope.
Everyone needs someone in this life to lean on. It might be a sister or brother who you call faithfully every week…you grew up together and you have history that binds you close together. Maybe it’s an old friend from college with whom you stay in touch…they always make you laugh and help you put things in perspective. Perhaps it’s a former coach or teacher who reminded you that “you can do this!”
You know….a friend. Someone to whom we are bound not by duty or obligation but by a shared desire to be accepted unconditionally; who stays with us not because they have to but because they want to; who embraces us, warts and all; who listens and hears us. There is something spiritually serendipitous about these kinds of friendship. They are gifts. Yes, sometimes we take them for granted. But that’s another thing a good friend offers us: forgiveness.
So today, be a good friend. Reach out to a friend. Pray for your friends, for those friends are truly a gift from God.
And thanks, brothers (you know who you are), for being my friends.
You are loved,