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Jesus as Friend

Friday, September 13, 2013

Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

“I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1Timothy 1:12)

Until recently I found it impossible to think of Jesus as my friend. In my way of thinking, Jesus is our ultimate, unattainable example of how live one’s life. I have always thought of a friend as someone who is your equal. Therefore, for me to be a friend of Jesus, I would need to somehow be elevated to His level — something that is completely out of the question. Or I would need for Jesus to come from His rightful pedestal down to my level. That just seemed like too much of a stretch.


Recently, a few small realizations have tuned into a full-blown revelation for me. Here are the pieces of my revelation puzzle.


“What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” I thought about this song, going back to Sunday-school days.  I always thought that the message was that Jesus was someone who is accessible and approachable, not distant, unknowable vapor.


“A Cowboy’s Prayer.” I read this poem from South Dakota’s first Poet Laureate, Badger Clark.  

Forgive me, Lord, if sometimes I forget.

You know all the reasons that are hid.

You understand the things that gall and fret;

You know me better than my mother did.


“Better than my mother did.” That line hit me. For most of us, our mother is probably the person who knows us best, but compared to Jesus, she doesn’t even come close. Jesus knows my every thought — every single one. Nothing can be hidden. He is everywhere, all at the same time.


Another piece of logic came to me when I was talking with a Sister. Our conversation turned into something like a desktop theology session during which she talked about how Jesus knows us so well that when we talk to Him (pray) we can confide in Him with our deepest fears and anxiety, and gain peace.  


A final piece was a graphic that showed a person with Jesus above and an arrow pointing down. This graphic was a comparison to many other religions, which can best be described as me with an arrow pointing up. With the arrow pointing up, there is a constant struggle to experience a god through some type of enlightenment, reincarnation, etc. Our Jesus on the other hand, is continually coming to us, right where we are.    


Taken all together, I felt a sense of revelation and satisfaction to be able to think of Jesus a friend. He knows everything about me but won’t hold it against me.  He cares for me and wants to hear my concerns and will reach out to me if I will only listen with open ears and an open heart.  


Sounds like a true friend.  


Dear Jesus,

You come to us where we are and are there for us.

Give us the understanding and self-reflection to see You as our dearest friend. Amen.

Curt Hohman
Vice President Managed Facilities, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center

1 TIMOTHY 1:1-2, 12-14 ● PSALM 16:1B-2A AND 5, 7-8, 11 ● LUKE 6:39-42

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