Familiarity in Christ, May 10. 2012


JOHN 15:15
I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing;
but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 
Consider the relationships that you’ve fostered in your life, the ones that have sustained you and challenged you. The people you’ve grown to trust with your whole self an your whole story. Jesus calls the disciples his friends. Making sure they understood the distinction. He didn’t say you’re my students or servants or even my colleagues. He described them as the ones with whom he’s shared the depths of his faith and ministry with. The ones who have traveled with him and whom he loves. I’ve made everything I have heard from my father (Abba) known to you.Friendship is about being known. It is the relationships that we commit to laying aside our power and self-centeredness and to sharing our lives with. Sometimes I joke about how we know when acquaintances have become friends in our own lives. That milestone when we don’t scurry around cleaning house before they arrive for dinner. The moment I let my perfectionist tendencies around making a perfect meal go and invite them to share in the preparation instead (even if they don’t seem to know how to cut the vegetables very well). And you really know you’re one of us when you come for dinner and then get roped into our ridiculous table manners and after dinner games.Jesus is doing more than inviting the disciples to dinner and few board games. He’s inviting them into the mystery of a life long relationship with God. He’s shared all he knows and revealed in himself over and over again the promise and wonder of God’s love and compassion. He’s washed their feet and invited them to touch his wounded yet risen body. And now he’s inviting them to pursue their own ministry and their own journey with God.

May your deepest friendships be living reminders of the abiding love of Christ,
May you hear his invitation to know God,
May your faith continue to develop like the trust of beloved friendship,
And may you seek to know one another and love one another sharing your lives of faith and doubt,
Trusting that God will go with you in every time and place.


Daily Reflection, May 9th


JOHN 15:4

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abidesin the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 

I’ve been thinking about this word abide. What does it mean to abide in someone? To abidein Jesus? The word has several meanings. It can mean to dwell in or to sojourn, which are words I gravitate to. I imagine dwelling in Christ to be an act of centering. Of being reminded of who and whose I am. But as I thought about the word abide I realized that it has other meanings as well. It can mean to follow the rules, to stay put, to stick it out, to wait patiently.There times that we can sit in the quiet space of prayer or even in the chaos of our lives and remember with joy that we are grounded in the goodness of God. Other times the chaos doesn’t seem so joyous and the quiet can be oppressive and lonely. There are moments in which we don’t feel particularly connected to God or one another and in this scripture from the Gospel of John Jesus invites us to hang on — even when the connection seems tenuous at best, he promises a mutually life-giving relationship. Stand by me Jesus tells us. Stand by me and I will stand by you.What does it mean to stand by Jesus in our own time and place? To dwell in and go with Christ?May God be your dwelling place,
and your companion as you sojourn,
May you abide in Jesus in the midst of this complex world
And know that Jesus abides in you,
May your life in God bear the fruits of this connection,
And may it connect you to the world.


Ben E. King, Stand by Me