March 9, 2018

Friday after the Third Sunday in Lent

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself by the fire, she stared at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. Mark 14:66-68

 

One day many years ago, I was with a group of people at a dinner who began to gossip and say several misleading and hateful things about a friend of mine who was not in attendance. They attacked him, spreading ugly, vicious rumors about him. They were crucifying my friend right before my eyes.

I started to say something to defend my friend, to stop the verbal abuse and defamations, but I didn’t know these people all that well and, as a person who doesn’t enjoy conflict all that much, I kept silent. On my way home, I was kicking myself over my disloyalty and outright weakness, sad and ashamed that I hadn’t seized the opportunity to speak the truth and to speak out for my friend. Still today, I am ashamed and regretful that I didn’t speak out, afraid to lose my standing with these dinner partners, but not enough to love my friend in their presence.

You may have had some similar experience in your life when you didn’t stand up for a friend or something that matters to you in the face of opposition. You may have had a similar experience in not standing up for your faith and your relationship with God. It’s not easy some days to admit our Christian leanings, much less the experiences and life we have with God as an individual or as part of a Christian community. And it hurts our souls and our hearts when we realize that we have denied God before others. A rooster may not crow, but we know it when hidden from others the life that we know and are trying to live in Christ.

 


May God give us the courage and the strength to stand up for our friends, what matters to us and especially our life in God. Amen.

 

The Rev. W. Frank Allen
Saint David’s (Radnor) Church

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February 28‬, 2018

Wednesday after the Second Sunday in Lent

And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. Mark 14:39-40‬

 

The presence of a friend is a gift that not only makes our life sweeter but also helps make difficult pain easier to bear. Companionship – fellowship with another that helps us know we are not alone – that we are with someone who knows us and loves us – can be a balm and comfort in the journey of life.

As Jesus prayed in the garden, he wanted and needed his companions. He needed them at his side – to watch, to wait, and to pray, together. But every time Jesus turned to his friends, every time he reached out for their presence, they abandoned him for sleep. ‬

This isn’t the only time Jesus finds himself reaching out to his friends with no response. He is constantly reaching out to us, too, his beloved friends, to gift us with the grace and gift of companionship. He reaches out to be a presence for us, to hold us through whatever situation life has to offer. But we are not always ready or responsive. Sometimes we are distracted. Sometimes we are asleep.

The good news is that even though we don’t always turn toward his outstretched hand and take his offer of companionship, his presence and offer are never rescinded. They are always there for us. God never gives up. Not in this life, nor the next. Jesus is always our companion, is always waiting for us to turn and respond, to take his hand. And even if we don’t, even in our darkest hour, in our death and beyond the door of our death, Jesus outstretched hand touches us and holds us, softly, until we turn, and meet his grace.

 

The Rev. Amanda Eiman‬
Saint David’s, Radnor‬