John 15:9,12-15 – As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (NKJV)
The other day, I had a chance to meet another of the Daily devotional writers. We have corresponded by e-mail many times, and over the years have become friends.
I had a chance to be close to her area of the city, so I telephoned to see if we could actually meet in person. We set a time, and I drove to their house to meet Anne Russell and her husband, Bill. My wife had another appointment, and I told her I would pick her up later.
It was a remarkable visit. I know I felt like we had known each other for years. Sometimes, a first visit with someone can be awkward, and there is little to talk about. This wasn't the case; in fact, I was actually an hour late getting back to meet my wife. I learned later she wasn't really surprised that we talked so long and I was late.
We talked about the devotionals we had written in the past, other writers we had met, and also about the dry times when we couldn't find inspiration to write about anything. Both of us — and, I suspect, all of the writers — go through such periods. Something may inspire us, but nothing will flow from our minds to our fingers and onto the screen.
As I was driving back to pick up my wife, I couldn't help but reflect on the text from the lectionary for that coming Sunday. I had finished my sermon and had given it a title: "Jesus Calls Us Friends".
As I thought of my friendship with Anne and her husband, I thought about my friendship with Jesus. As today's Scripture tells us, this is a friendship that goes both ways. He calls us His friends.
I have e-mail friends, physical friends, and friends who are closer than others. Although I have never met Jesus face to face as I did with Anne, Jesus is my closest friend. Unlike other friends and acquaintances, Jesus is always there for me. He listens to me. He talks to me, through the Spirit. And He has laid down His life for me. What more could I ask of a friend?
Prayer: Jesus, our Friend, thank You for always being there for us. Be with our friends, and be a friend to them also. Some don't know You yet, but we pray that You will be with them also. Amen.