Dear Christ Church,
Most Friday mornings I have a habit of pausing to read this quote about friendship. This comes from the book of Sirach, an ancient Hebrew collection of wise sayings:
Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; and those who fear the Lord will find them.
While friendship may seem like a bland topic, I know of few other ways of relating to others that can be as life-changing and steadying as friendship.
Consider these words from the quote: “a sturdy shelter…a treasure beyond price…life-saving medicine.” And then remember that Jesus puts friendship at the heart of the gospel. He says “You are no longer my servants, but my friends” (John 15:15). As we think through the loneliness epidemic in America, friendship is the life-saving medicine the church offers: to belong in and among a community of friends, those who are friends with God and friends with one another.
Which is why I love the theme of our Parish Retreat: “The Art of Friendship.” Together, we will explore friendship as a core tenant of the gospel as well as its most practical, daily application. This includes its many gifts as well as challenges.
Here are a couple of ways to make the most of Parish Retreat and grow in friendship with others:
Invest the time
There is no shortcut to friendship without time together. Showing up at Parish Retreat from Friday through Sunday is a time-intensifier, an opportunity for friendship in this community to deepen. If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still room and you can register here.
We have a Saturday night 3v3 basketball tournament and dance party each year. These are times of pure play. There’s something special about being under the night stars, cheering for one another, letting loose on a dance floor with everyone from kids to mature adults. Playing together leads to a deeper knowing of one another. There’s a silliness, a self-forgetfulness and a humility that provides levity…and levity is needed for friendship. We can’t always be serious.
So I encourage you – if you’re 16 years or older, consider signing up for the basketball tournament here! You can form your own team or sign up as an individual and we’ll add you to a team. All skill levels are welcome as we play as friends.
I’m looking forward to deepening the ties of friendship as we invest time and play together at this year’s Parish Retreat.