God my Friend
- The LORD says, “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you are the descendants of Abraham my friend” (Isaiah 41.8)
- The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend (Exodus 33.11).
Friends Worshipping Together
In the 1860s, poor Jews on the run from Russian persecution began to arrive in Salford and Manchester. Many lived in this rundown area called Red Bank, not far from Victoria Station. They couldn’t afford the synagogue payment, so using upturned buckets and planks they created their own synagogue pews in their backyards! They called this kind of makeshift synagogue a khevra – a friendship group or “fellowship.” They mostly came from the same Polish towns. They worshipped together, cared for each other, shared with each other, and loved each other.
The Epistle Reading for Today – 1 John 1.1-5 – Friendship with God
“1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
“2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
“3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ
John and Fellowship with the Lord
By the time he wrote this letter, John, the fisherman, was in his 90s and probably living in Ephesus.
Look at verse 1 above. It is similar to our Christmas Eve gospel reading: “In the beginning was the Word….” The old fisherman is reminding us that the Lord is the Creator, the very source of the universe, and yet the disciples heard Him, and saw and studied Him, and even felt His physical touch. The Lord is uncontainable, all-knowing, and timeless, and yet the God who loves us and wants to relate us.
Then, in chapter 1 verse 3, John shares his experience of the Lord: “our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
- As he speaks of the Lord, John uses a very unusual word which is quite rare today – “fellowship” – it describes his relationship with God.
- That word fellowship contains all these beautiful meanings…..
- His message is that we can all experience these wonderful features of the Lord
- Stranger still, within these thoughts is the sense of mutuality; not just receiving from the Lord – we can give to God; we can bless Him; and He can enjoy fellowship with us!
What a wonderful truth this is – Jesus, the Word, the Author of the whole of creation, comes to fellowship with us – even if it’s in our backyard, sitting on a plank resting on two upturned buckets!
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Joseph Scriven (1819-1866) became a teacher and, as a young man, had plans to settle down and marry. Tragically, the day before his wedding, his future wife drowned.
It was at this time, that Joseph found his relationship with Jesus deepening; finding the Lord to be a great source of comfort and the closest of friends. He resolved to share the love Jesus with those around him, and spent his life seeking out and coming alongside the poor and the disabled in any way he could. Later in his life, when his mother became very ill, he wrote this poem for her. (Much later it was made into a hymn)..
- Lord, this very day, cause me to know inwardly that You are my friend.
- Draw me into fellowship with You, to know the joy of Your love.
- May I be a blessing to You, and a blessing to everyone I meet.
- In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.