30 Dec Our True Friend
Read John 15:12-17
Thought for the Day: What a friend we have in Jesus.
What kind of friend is Jesus? We sing about Him in the old hymn, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”. We celebrate a friend who is faithful and also willing to share in our sorrow. That sort of friend is a True Friend. It sounds amazing, but it can also be hard to understand. After all, no human friends that we have encountered are 100% faithful and 100% willing to share in difficult times. In fact, we have all had painful times when we felt abandoned by our friends. Often, this happened when we needed them most.
In his classic, The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien introduces us to Samwise Gamgee (Sam). He is the brave and loyal friend who becomes the perfect companion for the heroic Frodo (the humble little Hobbit given the task of nothing less than saving the entire world). A career gardener, Sam establishes himself as the only one able to get through to Frodo. Without Sam, Frodo couldn’t fulfill his task of destroying the cursed ‘Ring of Power’. As the journey progresses and the weight of the Ring drives Frodo to a dark place, only Sam is able to lift his spirits. When Frodo boards a boat by himself, claiming that he must go alone, Sam declares, “Of course… but not alone. I’m coming too, or neither of us is going. I’ll knock holes in all the boats first!” Seeing the True Friend he has in Sam, Frodo laughs and gives in.
Tolkien created Sam as an example of a True Friend who is both 100% faithful and 100% willing to share in difficult times. Recently, Pastor Stan began reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time. It is a story that has long been part of David’s life. This has allowed us both to begin conversations about characters that only exist because of the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien. However, they also point us to deeper truths. For instance, Samwise Gamgee’s friendship may only exist in fiction, but Jesus is the real friend that each of us needs. Jesus is our one, True Friend, the best friend we could ever hope for. As we enter 2022, let’s remember what a friend we have in Jesus!
Pastors Stan and David