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The Gift of Friendship

Saturday, March 4 Lent Calendar* Invite: Cherish friendship. Have tea or a meal with a friend that you haven’t seen in a while.

Six people were at our wedding, including us: the pastor, Tim’s best friend from high school, the best man’s wife who took photos, my best friend as the maid of honor, Tim, and me. That’s it. I was thankful to have Tracy as my maid of honor. We became soul sisters when we worked as camp counselors at Shores of St. Andrew. Through the years, we have cried with each other in the pits of hell. We have laughed so hard with each other that our abs have hurt. Proverbs 18:24 says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Though we have lived miles apart for nearly 25 years, Tracy still sticks closer than a brother. So today on the Lent calendar, I take time to cherish our friendship. As her Saturday was busy and she lives in Minnesota, we had tea time via Zoom yesterday. I think one of the blessings that has come from Covid is the increased awareness that we can connect with our loved ones via online platforms - when we can’t be together in person - and somehow they don’t feel quite so far away.

There are times in my life when I have felt lonely and without the needed friendship connections. At other times, I have felt that my cup is overflowing with friendship. I am currently in the midst of planning a trip with my high school friends. We have known each other for over thirty years. When we all turned 40, we spent a week together in Puerto Vallarta. Next school year, we will all turn 50 so we are planning to spend a week together in Paris.

This past winter, I walked through a four week Bible study series with my upper elementary students on friendship. They memorized Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times.” We talked about friendships in the Bible. We read about Jesus who calls us “friend.” They did self-reflecting on what kind of friend they are to others. We prayed for friendships. After thirteen years as a pastor on a school campus, I have seen the friendship struggles children have and the importance of friendship in their young lives. I pray that every child will have at least one very close and trusted friend. I pray for my own children to have the blessing of good friendships, to choose friends wisely, and to be a good friend to others. Friendship is so important to our well-being. God made us to be in community.

Paul gives some good advice on friendship in Romans 12:15-16 (MSG Translation): “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.”

Today, cherish friendship. Pray for your friends. Or pray to find good friends. Pray to be a good friend. Reach out to a friend. If you can’t get together today, schedule a time to do so soon. Send a text to a friend to let them know you’re thinking about them and appreciate them. And sometime before you rest your eyes for the night, remember that Jesus longs to be our constant and forever friend. With him, we are never left friendless.

*Find the daily Lent calendar here; or for the Lent calendar more specific to Ascension Lutheran Church, go here.

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