SERMON TITLE: “Jesus’ Friends”
SERMON TEXT: John 15:9-17
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: May 6, 2018, at First UMC
Many of you know that I drove to Montana in mid-April to get my mom and bring her here for a 2-week visit. Then, early this past week, I returned her home to Libby. In between, we had some nice time together, visited the Tulip Festival, and accomplished another particular goal. We bought Mom a new computer, and I helped her set it up and learn how to use it. As I was teaching her, I tried to find lessons that were relevant and motivational to her—like being able to read email from her friends and download and save pictures from her family.
Since Mom’s handwriting is getting a little wobbly, she also said she’d like to be able to print mailing labels from her computer. So, before I left my mom’s apartment on Tuesday morning, I decided to type up her old address book entries into an Excel data base. It was interesting going through that old book, seeing who had died, moved, grown up, gotten divorced, or been scratched off the Christmas card mailing list for lack of contact. Of course, others were such close friends that mom didn’t really need to mail them anything—because she could just hand it to them at church or when they got together somewhere else.
Friends are important. If you look up “friendship” on the internet, you can see all kinds of studies and statistics about the health and longevity benefits of having friends. And, yet, even in this era when a person can have hundreds or thousands of “friends” on Facebook, we know that quality friendships are hard to make and difficult to keep.
Because most of us do want to have friends and be friends, our ears tune in quickly to a scripture like today’s passage from the Gospel of John. In John 15:9-17, Jesus uses the word “friends” three times. Let’s take a look and see what it would mean for us to be Jesus’ friends.