Good morning everyone.

In our Gospel today Jesus at the Last Supper says to his disciples, “I do not call you servants any longer, I have called you friends” (John 15. 15).

In these words Jesus moves us away from any idea that we might have got in our heads that our job was to cower in the corner and do what the overlord God is shouting at us to do. If you’re going to be a servant that’s OK but that’s not what Jesus wants: I do not call you servants; I call you friends.

So from now on we’re in the friendship game. God is interested in friendship, not fury. Whatever you have been told, this is where God is: in friendship.

In Martin’s sermon today we see how his perception of Paul and Linda is changed by being with them, by his friendship with them. To say I am your friend is to say “I am allowing myself to be changed by knowing you”.

In our epistle today from the book of Acts the apostle Peter is made to face his own prejudices. As a result of this he was changed. “I am allowing myself to be changed by knowing you” … my life is going to be re-shaped because of my commitment, my covenant with you.

God’s life is reshaped by being with us. That is what Jesus’s coming to us is, the reshaping of God’s own life to be in covenant with us. From now on we’re in the friendship game. It’s all there in our Gospel today.

A prayer for the week ahead on the theme of friendship:

Jesus, our faithful friend,
we thank you for the precious gift of friendship,
for the people who accept us as we are,
love us even in our least attractive moments,
help us to laugh at ourselves and to laugh at life,
encourage us, support us, believe in us, value us.
Lord, help us never to take friendship for granted
but to tend it as a beautiful plant.  Amen.

Virtual Service 9 May