Long-Distance Relationship

College friends. We play cards until we’re too tired to see straight; no one wants to call it quits. The first night together again is always like that. Even though our oldest kid is in college now, and we really need the sleep. Our lives are miles apart; time is precious.

Everyday friends. How else would I get to the gym without someone to cajole me? We cook together. Play games of all kinds. Enjoy and tolerate each other’s pets. Listen to woes, work, and small triumphs. Visit each other when our backs go out. 
I’m a bit surprised to hear Jesus use the metaphor of friendship. That seems a little too chummy. Wait. Maybe it wasn’t a metaphor. 

“I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15(CEB)

I am trying to wrap my mind around the idea of being friends with Jesus. He did go to a lot of dinner parties. And weddings and holiday celebrations. Listened to people’s problems. Even cooked breakfast for his friends on the beach. Hiked up mountains and tried to get away to the sea for a vacation. He was (exhaustingly) popular.

“You didn’t choose me, but I chose you…” John 15:16(CEB)

How does it feel to be chosen? Do we choose our friends, or did they choose us? There is a lingering memory of playground games, “Me! Me! Choose me!” The joy of being picked. The sadness of not feeling chosen. Called by name. Or called a name. Recognized as having something to offer. Or not. What experiences do we bring to the idea of being chosen?

Why is Jesus talking about friendship? 

“I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete.” John 15:11 (CEB)

Joy and friendship go together. That, I get. Do I know that joy with Jesus? Or believe that I give him joy? The idea of joy being completed seems elusive, but attractive. I would like more joy. 

“This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14(CEB)

Commandments seem different than discussions among friends. That is probably where I get tripped up. Even though it is about loving each other. Not exactly, “Play nice while I’m gone.” But not dissimilar to the desire that all of our friends would get along and enjoy each other. Friends from all the disparate parts of our lives, loving each other because they love us. 

Today my friend left in the clouds. On an airplane. Our everyday friendship transitioned to a long-distance relationship. It is hard to live so far apart. We need different kinds of communication. Time together changes; we don’t take it for granted.

What kind of friendship might Jesus be offering us today? Calling out our name. Choosing us. For love, for joy, for friendship. 

Bulletin: 5/12
Order of Service: 5/12
Sermon: God’s Character is Good News
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