At St. Luke’s, we make friends. I confess I have not always given this habit the weight it deserves. I knew friendships were a beautiful outcome of church participation, and I am ever grateful for the friends I have made here – some of whom I have known for nearly 20 years! For some reason, though, “making friends” did not always seem as sacred an endeavor as praying, studying the Bible, and so on. Having fun with friends seemed more frivolous than holy, but I am learning that godly friendships are so much more than just a perk of church participation.
Last Sunday, our daughter Sadie was baptized. Through this sacrament, we recognized and celebrated that God is already pursuing a relationship with her before she even realizes it. We claimed her identity as a daughter of God and promised to raise her to know and love Him. During Sadie’s baptism, my friends in the Chancel Choir stood. That may seem like a small gesture, but I was truly touched. When they rose in unison, the collective “whoosh” reminded me of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the room. As the choir stood behind us and our family stood in front of us, our baby was literally surrounded by people who love her. What a gift! Each of these dear ones promised to pray for her, to teach and encourage her, and to hold her accountable for leading a Christian life. I know they will keep their promises because they are already fulfilling the same vows pledged during our older daughter’s baptism three years ago.
What I am beginning to understand is that these friends, along with our Sunday School classmates and LIFT group members, represent the kind of godly friendships that our “we make friends” habit is all about. Through these relationships, our children have many spiritual leaders to love and guide them. The faithfulness of these friends compels us to be better parents. The friends who stood with us during our children’s baptisms have also stood with us through the ups and downs of life. Their support has reflected God’s love for us in all circumstances.
As I think about the beautiful service last Sunday, I am reminded of Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them.” Making friends is sacred because of the Lord’s presence in those relationships.