In Loving friendship . . .
In the lingo of today there is so much to “unpack” in this country-music version of What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Let’s look at the two most prominent themes in the hymn.
Firstly we have the reference to friend. Friendship we know is a very human relationship which will mean different things to each of us based on our personal experiences with those we consider to be our ‘friends’. However, there is a common understanding of what true friendship encompasses, which is that friends are faithful, loyal, generous, available, accepting, trusting, sharing, caring, forgiving, and loving.Because friendship is a typically human interaction it is a wonderful reminder to us that God embraced humanity by infusing Divine Love into our world in Jesus so we can experience an ultimate human friendship with Him, one that has all-of-the-above named qualities, in a concrete and real way, a bridge so to speak to our relationship with God. True friendship with Jesus is all about enriching our relationship with God.
Secondly we have the reference to prayer. It is probably fair to say that we all have a personal way to pray, but it is always a way through which we are trying to communicate better with God. This week’s hymn reminds us that our prayer to Jesus is prayer to God. It may be an easier way to pray because we can understand through scripture that Jesus experienced all the human emotions that each of us experiences from day to day. In particular, during this time of pandemic we are very likely experiencing frustration, discomfort, anxiety, longing, a feeling of disconnection, grief, sorrow, even depression. Jesus experienced all of these through His life, but He preached Hope and Love and Peace and Understanding, and Joy in the Resurrection. The realization that He knows and understands us is encouraging and it gives us the strength and determination to strive to follow His human example to lead us to God. That is what living a Christian life is all about, moving from dark to Light in Faith.I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life. (John 8:12)Our prayer to Jesus is that we may partake more fully in a 2-way relationship with Him, recognizing that Jesus is always there and open to a deepening friendship with us.
And so we sing and pray in Jesus’ name. . .