Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Friendship

I have a devotional that I do most days from a book called, The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer.  Each day includes a section called Christ the Friend discussing the appointed scripture from the perspective of Jesus as our friend.   During Lent, I have been thinking a lot about Christ-like friendship.  How would Jesus handle the ups and inevitable downs of friendship?   I have often wondered what Jesus thought about Judas.  Over the course of his 3 years of ministry, Jesus must have been a friend to Judas as He was to the other disciples.  Jesus loved Judas, even knowing how that relationship would end.  And Peter.  How heart breaking it must have been when, at the time when Jesus needed him the most, Peter was busy denying Him.  Jesus was not a fair weather friend.   He loved and forgave his disciples and friends no matter what they did.  In one Christ the Friend section we read in the author's version of Jesus's advice : 
Rest in my heart for a moment now, and see how I love those who hate and persecute me. Since you know that I am always with you, always loving and guiding and protecting you, you have the strength to do the same.
One of our boys, Elias H. is severely disabled, both physically and mentally.  He is mostly a delight but, frankly, he can also be annoying. (Like all of us can!) He lives in the adolescent boys' cabin.  The boys share in the care taking responsibilities for Elias, making sure he stays safe.  Friday was Elias' 15th birthday.  As I was perusing FaceBook that evening, I came across this post from one of the other boys, Jimmy:


It says: 
On a day like today Gabriel celebrates the birth of Elias (Elijah in English.)  There are no records of it, but regardless of whether it was today or not, we remember that on a very special day Elijah was born. (Our) Elias has been in the LAMB family since he was very small, he grows up with teenagers and in a very special or sweet way he teaches us so many things. He teaches me that you don't have to have everything to be happy, that a simple hug fills your life. He teaches me that no matter the sex, color or race we are all human and we are all family since he hugs every person he finds, Elias does not see if you have more money than the other Elias will always embrace you. Many times we have everything and we are not happy, give Elias a snack and he is already happy, Elias laughs with you and also cries with you, every person who comes to live with Elias is aware of all this and many other things. Elias does not need to see the morning to be happy, Elias is happy today because, for him, life comes to have more meaning than we imagine. People like Elias teach me how valuable life is and that we waste life being bitter, wondering what I need to be happy? Elias teaches me that I just need a lempira (5 cents) in my pocket to be happy all day.

Jimmy understands how to be a Christ-like friend.  He looks beyond the times when Elias annoys him to see the authentic Elias - a child of God, who shines the love of Jesus all the time and loves us unconditionally.

I pray we all have an Elias in our lives and that we can be friends like Jimmy.