What does the word ‘friend’ mean to you? Would you call the 200… 500… 1000 people you have on Facebook your friends? It seems that in this technology-obsessed world we have lost the meaning of friendship; true companionship.
Last September, I took the big step of going to university. The last time I moved to a new area and had to make completely new friends was 7 years ago. So, making new friends at university was definitely an intimidating prospect.
I’ve never been a person with ‘loads’ of friends. Throughout my life I’ve had maybe only a couple of good friends at a time. But moving to London made me excited to find out who God would place in my life, what kind of friendships I would form and, very importantly, which church I would go to.
I’m glad to say I’ve found my church, my home away from home, at ChristChurch London.
In what is said to be the loneliest city, I’m lucky I have found this community to be part of. And since joining the Welcome Team, meeting for church just feels like getting together with friends. (Side note – I’d definitely encourage you to join one of the serving teams, it’s great fun and you also get to meet a tonne of new people!)
I’m now past the first stage of getting to know new people. It is now up to me to build deeper relationships and decide what kind of a friend I want to be. A deeper kind of friendship requires you to be vulnerable with someone; to be able to share not only the good things but also share what you’re struggling with. Throughout the New Testament we’re often encouraged to share deeply with and pray for one another (e.g. James 5:16). But we can often be scared of being vulnerable; we guard our hearts so as not to seem weak or emotional. In social media we only post what we want others to see to make our lives look perfect. But I want to strive for exactly the opposite of that; vulnerability. I want to be real, to have friendships that go deeper than the surface and last a lifetime. To love one another as Christ has loved us. As John 15:13 reminds us, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Now, my first year is coming to an end and once again I can say God has blessed me more than I could ever have imagined. He has placed some absolutely amazing people in my life and I can’t wait to spend the next four years in London with them.
I just want to leave you with this quote from (the brilliant) C.S. Lewis:
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves