Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                John 15:15


As I have gotten older, also referred to as “more mature,” I have recognized just how important friends are to my life, and I think to each of us. Yesterday I celebrated another birthday – for those curious, it is 74. I received more well wishes and congratulatory messages than I could ever imagine, and it made me even more thankful for friends.

According to Strong’s Bible Dictionary the Greek term for friend is phílos, properly, dear, i.e. a friend; actively, fond, i.e. friendly. Jesus said to his disciples: “I have called you friends.” So many descriptions, and yet all absolutely perfect. You, you to whom this is written and who messaged me, are, indeed, dear. There have been so many episodes in my life that required your dear friendship. You are active. You cannot show friendship and love without an activity of some sort. In fact, both love and friendship require relationship, and relationships always require some sacrifice. Fondness – my favorite. For each of you, I think of your name and I fondly recall your face at a specific moment in time that piques my memory of you. I treasure the prayers many of you have prayed for me and my family over the years. As I wrote in my collection of essays In a Mirror Dimly, there are few things on this side of heaven more powerful than to know that your friends are praying for you.

So I’d like to offer another couple of Greek words that best define “friends.” The first is charis; it’s the root for grace, or as it reads in Strong’s: “(God’s) divine influence in the heart and its (subsequent) reflection in the life.” The grace that we each receive from our friends is both God-ordained, and undeserved. The second eulogia is the term for blessing. Each one of you who sent your best wishes is an incredible blessing to me, and I hope that this honors you.

And I pray that I can be eulogia to you and to others in my life.


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