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Scripture:   John 15:12-17

Lord,  today I read that you told your disciples,  I have called you friends  . . .  You did not choose me but I chose you.   I needed to hear those words,  Lord.

Sometimes my religion becomes a burden,  my conscience a hard taskmaster.   Faith as some understand it can seem both mysterious and demanding.

But,  if faith is first of all responding to friendship,  I can now understand and respond to it in a new way.   Friends are bound together by love and loyalty,  and friendships,  both inside and outside the family,  are life's most precious gifts.   When we fall out with our friends only forgiveness,  both offered and received,  can make life whole again.

If you have indeed chosen me to be your friend my faith ceases to be a burden and becomes a joy and a strength.

We sing,  "What a friend we have in Jesus,"  and now I realise that that is the heart of our gospel.   You came into our world offering yourself as friend to all who would receive you.   You sealed that offer with your life and death.   Truly,  No one has greater love than this,  to lay down one's life for his friends.   I know that I do not deserve to have you as my friend,  but I can accept and respond to you.   Because you accept me as I am,  your divine friendship will gradually change my life from within.

So,  Lord,  when the going is hard help me to remember who has chosen and befriended me,  whose name I bear.   I can have a new dignity and worth in my own eyes.   I am no miserable sinner nor reluctant saint.   You have chosen me to be your friend.

Let that be my peace,  my glory,  and my guiding star.


©  Selwyn Dawson


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