25th August 2023

News of the passing of one friend and the dangerous illness of another got me thinking about friendship and how precious our friends are. How varied our long-term friendships are, and these days, how far-flung! I expect that, like me, you have several circles of friends who know one another, keep in touch and meet up from time to time. But people in the different circles don’t know each other. They come from different places I’ve lived in, different work environments, games and hobbies, even school gates.

My niece is very good at keeping up with friends – from her schooldays, student and work days, even the mums who had children at the same time as she did. She makes a point of getting alongside those going through difficult times [and my niece is not a Christian – refuses to profess any sort of belief in God, so don’t say ‘this is the Christian way’]. She is a joy, a strength and an encouragement to her friends as I’m sure we all find our friends are to us and we hope to be to them.

Our friends share memories of unique experiences, of holidays, special worship services, festivals – occasions when we shared in a blessing from God. I feel very humbled to realise how much my Christian friends have given me and shaped, by God’s grace, my Christian character.

So let us give thanks to God for all our friends and ask for grace to be to them what God wants to give them through us.

Lesley Fuller