It’s often said that ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family (relatives?)’.
We need friends. Friends guide us, care for us, confront us in love, console us in our pain. We sometimes look to a friend for wisdom in making important decisions. We make the decision but we take account of that friend’s advice. Sometimes it takes a friend to say, “Take care of yourself!” When life hurts a friend can provide great consolation in the simplest but most profound way; simply by ‘being there’, crying with us. Friends have limitations and weaknesses, be incomplete and faulty, but for all that friends can be signposts on our journey toward the love of God.
The Gospel writer outlines a chain of love: the Father loves Jesus, Jesus loves his disciples such that he calls them his friends. In response these friends love one another. In previous weeks we’ve read of metaphors and images – the good shepherd, vine and branches – each helping us understand God’s love and offering direction in our relationship with God. Another way to engage today’s readings is the metaphor of a group of musicians who take cues from one another and create music out of sense of trust as they make music.
Perhaps in our discipleship we are like a group of musicians, with Jesus setting the rhythm, inviting us to work together, to respond creatively and fruitfully to God’s love. What “music” does this relationship make possible? In a community of faith there are myriad ways in which we can improvise on the theme of God’s love. Being available and open to the Spirit; being moved to love, caring for others with a phone call, a visit, a letter or email, a meal, a bed; being and doing what is ordinary or usual, being about our daily activity, however ordinary it may seem; being open to God’s grace through others; receiving their care, accepting their signs and acts of love can all happening separately but in ways that happens together, in ways that we make “music” together on the theme of God’s love made known to us to us in Jesus.
(Adapted from a sermon from many years ago, which may have drawn on material from other, long-forgotten, sources.)
© Jeff Shrowder, 2012.
More for Easter 6B…