I Have Called You Friends

June 24th, 2015 by MMiller

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

May 10, 2015

Listen to Sermon

Biblical Testimony: John 15:9-17

As God has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept God’s commandments and abide in God’s love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the landowner is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from God. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that God will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Contemporary Testimony: an excerpt from Whistling in the Dark by Frederick Beuchner

The love of God. The mercy of God. The judgment of God. You take the shoes off your feet and stand as you would before a mountain or at the edge of the sea. But the friendship of God?

It is not something God does. It is something Abraham and God or Moses and God do together. Not even God can be a friend all by himself apparently. You see Abraham, say, not standing at all, but sitting down, loosening his prayer shawl, trimming the end off his cigar. He is not being creature for the moment, and God is not being Creator. There is no agenda. They are simply being together, the two of them, and being themselves.

Is it a privilege only for patriarchs? Not as far as Jesus is concerned at least. “You are my friends,” he says, “if you do what I command you.” The command, of course, is “to love one another,” as he puts it. To be his friends, that is to say, we have to be each other’s friends, conceivably even lay down our lives for each other.