Sunday, June 4, 2017
John 15:13 (NRSV): True Friendship
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Sometimes truth is revealed in simple ways, and simplicity is something we often ignore. This weekend, my youngest son and I sat down to watch Sesame Street, and in one of those episodes, I heard a familiar song. This time, however, the song came to life for me and resonated a beautiful truth. The dialogue leading into Bert and Ernie’s “That’s What Friends are For” goes as follows:
Ernie: It's pretty messy in there, Bert.
Bert: Well, Ernie, you're just a little messy. I've learned that. I'm used to it. Let's go to sleep.
Ernie: You know, Bert, you're a real friend. I'm messy and you don't like it messy, but because I'm your friend you don't mind too much if I'm messy.
Bert: Well, not *too* much, Ernie. Let's just go to sleep.
Ernie: But, but that's what a friend is, Bert. I mean, not minding too much because you like somebody. That's a friend, Bert, a pal! Not minding! That's what friends are for!
Bert and Ernie model something very important in human relationships -- true friendship. The line that resonates for me is Ernie’s summation of a true friend: “But, but that's what a friend is, Bert. I mean, not minding too much because you like somebody. That's a friend, Bert, a pal! Not minding!” True friendship is looking past ourselves, past our preferences, to the person we love.
Jesus teaches us that there is no greater love than to give ourselves away for the sake of loving the other person (John 15:13). This giving away of the self begins with forgetting our wants, desires, and prefered ways for the sake of the person we serve and love. To love someone means to look past their faults and into the gift they are as a human being, child of God, and friend. Giving our life away to others begins with loving them, like Bert does Ernie, regardless of their faults and flaws.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, true friendship is a gift perfectly modeled through the self-giving love of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grant, O’ loving Father, that our lives be given away in love to those we serve and that true friendship be something each of us emulates. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Have a blessed week.