Summary: This message is a reminder that Jesus calls us friend and we are called to be friends with others.
We are in the middle of a series on facebook. Facebook was created to help you connect and share with the people in your life. And we are noticing what this can teach us about our faith.
On facebook you have quote, unquote “friends.” These are the people you are connected to through facebook. You can set your facebook to be viewed by anyone on facebook, but I think most people set their page to be for “friends” only. I think that is wise with the amazingly harmful things some people can do through a computer.
If I want to become friends with someone I have to send a friend request. This is just a message that goes to the other person’s facebook page. Then they can decide to accept my friend request or not. As I said a few weeks ago, I do not friend request many church members because I do not want to put you on the spot to accept or reject my friendship. If you friend request me I will accept, but I will let you make the first move.
On facebook you do get to choose your friends. You can ignore someone who wants to be your friend that you do not want to be connected to your page. I have denied friend requests when I am not sure who the person is. But if I know who the person is I accept their friend request.
Through the friend requests you start to make friends on facebook and your friends are your network or community. Your facebook page gets linked to your friends. They can write on your wall, see your pictures, and connect to the things on your page. Also, there is a news feed page which shows you the latest activity of your friends on their facebook page. This news feed page tells you if a friend has added pictures or videos. It tells you who they have become friends with. It tells you if they have played a game on facebook. Sometimes it tells you too much information, but it is there so you can see what your friends are up to.
I browsed through the facebook pages of the members of this church that I am friends with looking for the person with the most friends. I may have missed some, but I found that we have four people with more than 700 friends on their facebook page. We even have one person with over 800. That is Brandon Davis, who just graduated from Williamsburg High School and he has 835 friends last I checked. Not quite twice what I have.
Through friend requests on facebook people get connected to one another. You could call it a network of connected friends. I thought about the image of a vine. A vine has the main stem or trunk which would be facebook and then each friend is an extension from the trunk.
This idea led me to the passage from the Gospel of John chapter 15. Here Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” This gives us the image of Jesus as the stem or trunk of the vine and we branch off of him. As Christians, Jesus is that main connecting piece, which connects us to one another. Christ holds us in a network connected to one another. Communion reminds us of our connection to Christ.
And Jesus says the bond that holds us is love. Connecting in Christ’s love moves us from servants to friends. Jesus says here he calls us friend. If we have accepted his friend request then we are to show his love. And I say we accept his friend request because in verse 16 he says that we do not choose him, but he chose us. So in a sense he sent the request to be friends to us and we had to respond.
So if we accept the invitation to be friends with Jesus, what does that mean? Well, he says we are to love each other. I think we all would agree that this would mean we are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, help shelter the homeless and those kinds of things. If we love others we should be taking care of those who have needs. And we try to do that through the ministries of this church. But we also need to be mindful of how we can really care for friends when the need may not be as obvious.
So I was looking at the passage in John chapter 2 where Jesus performs his first miracle. Jesus here does something miraculous with the fruit of the vine when he turns water into wine. If you want to look at the passage it is John 2:1-11. Jesus is at a wedding celebration when his mother tells him they are out of wine. Jesus at first wonders why his mother is getting him involved, why she is making this request of him, but then he tells some servants to fill 6 jars with water. They fill the jars and then Jesus tells them to take some to the master of the banquet, so they do. Then the master of the banquet is impressed with the fine wine he has just tasted and calls for the bridegroom to praise him for saving some of the best wine.