Thursday, June 6, 2013


In the church that we came from, everybody had some idea what it meant to be in the church; it ran like a typical church and had easily identifiable roles.

SGF needs form, too; right now we're too amorphous, too go-with-the-flow.  Maybe because we're so small, maybe because we're so new, maybe because we're all friends so "leading" as if from a platform doesn't work.

When we were praying about what is needed in the way of form and roles, I felt a nudge in my spirit that I was immediately suspicious of.  It seemed pretty convenient for me: instead of being nudged to pray more, feed the hungry, concentrate on the youth, encourage more missions, the word that popped into my mind was "FRIENDSHIP."  How suspicious, how very like a false prophetic word to affirm the status quo and not call out new passion or vigor or zeal.

I said it out loud, though, and had the group test it.  Immediately the Lord provided two Scriptures:

1) "They will know you are Christians because you're friends."

The actual text says:
John 13:3 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”


2) " If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but am not a friend, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but I'm not friends with people, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have the friendship thing going, it profits me nothing."

(The actual text of 1 Corinthians 13 says "have not love" where I've inserted the idea of "friendship.")

What if, when this life closes and the next life begins, what if this happens: the Lord holds up next to me a checklist of Christian virtue and discipline (You know the checklist, right?  We had it in mind because we were recently rebutting together a list of Things Jesus Didn't Say, and two of them that gave us the giggles were: “"For God was so disgusted with the world that he gave his one and only Son." and "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you a checklist of things to do and not do in order to remain in God’s favor.") and finds the checklist item FRIEND--with a checkmark next to it--puts the list down, looks up, and says "Well done, good and faithful servant."

What if prayer that grows out of friendship is what counts?  And generosity.  And patience.  And hope and trust?  What if it's actually all about being friends?

Incidentally, it's not just friendship with believing, nice-looking brothers who are in the same socioeconomic status that I'm in.  It's also about befriending Samaritan untouchables--the ones who are hard to be friends with.  Loving the unlovely.

Not saying it's the final word in my understanding of faith and the proper role of church.  But it's an interesting twist.  We thought we were feeling the discomfort of formlessness, and the Lord seems to have told us that what's really important is ... being friends.

PS.  And yes, we did belt out a round of Friends are Friends Forever, as one must when talking about the subject in any length. Grin.

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