Earlier this month our Year One Confirmation students heard a lesson about Jesus titled "Jesus is a Friend of Mine," in which we helped teens understand that true friendship with Jesus includes listening to what He says and doing what He asks of us, even - and especially - when it's difficult.
I share it with you today, because I look around my own community and see so many looking for something more out of their life, but maybe not knowing where to start or what to do. Ten years ago, while relatively content in my life, I also found myself looking around wondering how can I have a deeper relationship with Christ and where to start.
Being in a friendship with Jesus requires a little courage, determination, and fortitude, because like a good friend He will challenge you to step up, do more, be better.
It calls to mind a scene from the iconic movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off," where uptight, depressed Cameron Frye answers a call from his friend, Ferris who is telling him to come pick him up. The hidden message is: Hey friend - get over here - get out of yourself - do something new - be challenged to change your day - your perspective - your life. Cameron groans, he wants to refuse Ferris, to stay right in bed where he is, but he feels the pull to his friend. He makes it to the car, but still has to argues with himself about whether to turn the key and drive over there. When I think of Jesus calling us into the deep, to step outside our comfort zone - which maybe has become a rut, to turn toward him and away from whatever is distracting us from him, I can hear Cameron Frye's short punchy monologue so clearly in my head.
"He'll keep calling me, he'll keep calling me until I come over. He'll make me feel guilty. This is uh... This is ridiculous, OK I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go. What - I'LL GO!"
A true friend offers you a respite from the grind.
A true friend encourages you to get out of your funk. To stand up, shake off the sluggishness, do something new, see the world from a different perspective.
A true friend loves you and wants something better for you.
A true friend wants to help you, heal you.
A true friend is sometimes silent, supporting you when you need comfort or listening to you be angry and vent.
When we choose to follow Christ, at first he is a kind and gentle friend, a fun friend. And then, almost unexpectedly, He pushes us to step it up. He challenges us to take the right path, not the easy path. He leads us to become better than we were the day before, but it requires us to do something new. Only by making a conscious choice to seek him, to him can we begin to develop a stronger friendship. Only by making a conscious choice can we allow Him to work within our hearts and our lives.
It requires faith and faith requires action.
What will you do this year to allow Jesus to be a true friend?