The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week during the time that we are closed. Even though we cannot currently join together for our usual Friday lunchtime Communion service in the chapel, we hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
Rev Hilary Cooke, retired minister and a volunteer at the New Room
Read John Ch 15 v 12-17
Much of the church and Christian language is about family. We have ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ and ‘The Church family’. Here Jesus talks about a very different human relationship – that of friendship. Friendship is a relationship without obligation – there are no ‘oughts’. We do things with and for friends just because we want to – for love alone.
There is a phrase that is often quoted as a kind of joke ‘You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family’. When Jesus talks about friends and when you look at the motley crew of different people who were his disciples, I don’t think he is talking about a group of close mates who are your choice of companions. I think he is talking about a sense of belonging that is beyond the links of blood and family – a sense of belonging that ties human beings together.
I think that in this time of lack of relationship or relationship that is only conducted at a distance – phone, email, text, zoom, what’s app, with meetings only taking place over various types of video conferencing – we have learnt and experienced a great deal about the nature of relationship and our need of it. I think these months will go down as a time when we have come to understand our common humanity in more important ways than we have before. As people have got to know their neighbours; as strangers have shopped and cared for the vulnerable; as medical staff and care workers have stood alongside the sick and dying I think we have caught a glimpse of what Jesus means when he says ‘I have called you friends’.
Lord Jesus Christ thank you for the relationship of love that you offer us,
Give us the courage and the openness to live as your friends
as we pray for those locally and those across the world.
Help us to hold on to the vision of our common humanity in you. Amen