Seventh Letter from the Pastor

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Dear Members and Friends,

Family, friends and coworkers are the building blocks to our personal community. Can they be bought and sold as easily as our e-network is built on requests, likes, friending and denying on Facebook, email or other e-connect? We are linked in many more ways to communicate than before but can we still get trapped by the feeling that we are all alone? While living with faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ, we are shown ways to reach out in times of fear, sadness and especially in joy. To love one another is shown to us in many ways and one of them is through friendship. In Proverbs 18:24, it is written that “Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin”. To have a true friend that will lend an ear to your troubles and support you will help you balance. While you are balanced the Holy Spirit clears your mind and cleanses your heart unhindered. A friend can keep your mind centered so that you have room to maintain your body-spirit connection.

Facebook has enabled us to connect with more people. Our face-to-face friends also need to be part of our conversation network. However, how much of our time do we have to share with our face-to-face friends? Have we truly let our friends and family into our personal lives? Friends that have conditions attached to you being their friends tend to pull you away from the Divine. Some are bound by time schedules. Some place demands on you when you are most vulnerable and expect you to veer from the path best for you. How can you know where that best path is? There is the path for you that does not harm another nor brings harm to yourself. The path of true friendship enlivens you into becoming your true, Christ-like self. Developing into a person who can share in friendship is a teaching, lovingly given to us by Jesus Christ. Historically, Jesus befriended many. However, there were only a few that he held in dear counsel. Each had their own allotted grace and each brought themselves as a gift in true friendship into the community of Jesus.

Expectations are high with true friendship but “some friends (do) play at friendship”. When friendship was betrayed egregiously through the betrayal of Judas, friendship is broken. There are times when we need to let go that are less extreme then setting us up for murder. We need to search our hearts and ask, “Does this person see me, accept me and wish the best for me?”

Jesus forgave us of ours sins so that we may live eternally. With lyrics written in 1855 by Joseph Scriven, we have been singing a song called, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” from childhood. “It is a privilege to be able to carry everything to God in prayer”, as the lyrics say. Since Jesus bears our sins and grief as well as guides us towards peace, Jesus is our ultimate, faithful friend. We can remember to come to him in prayer.

We can pray for our friends and gain results that bring balance to our lives. “And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before (Job 45:10)”. We do not need to suffer as Job did. However, there are some of us who are miserable without accepting friendship. Living life in harmony with our community is enriched with friends.

Friends are a car ride, plane or train away. They can be reached by a stroll up a driveway or via phone. We can spend hours Skyping, or texting. We have many ways to connect. However, we need to first connect with our heart through the joy of fellowship and fully expect it in kind. When reciprocated, there is purpose.

May the friendship of Christ be with you,

Rev. Michelle Wiltshire-Clement