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Viewpoint from Carolyn Cliff 18/10/2013

 

Carolyn Cliff
Reader, Great Yarmouth Minster


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In the irreverent Monty Python Film 'Life of Brian' is a song 'Always look on the Bright Side of Life'.  In the song there is a line 'Life's a piece of shit, if you think of it!'.  But if you do think of it – life at times is tough

 

Just as you think times are good and happy and everything is settled and going OK – Bang! - Things seem to go wrong.  And not minor things.  Being made redundant, sickness or even operations.  I'm sure you all can come up with your own examples amongst your family and friends

 

What we do we need at times like these?

 

Prayer, guidance, courage, hope and friends.  I think we would all agree that family and friends are important  

 

But what makes a good friend?

 

Someone who is there for us.  We can talk to and they will listen.  Someone with empathy and who will encourage us.  Will offer help and ask after us.  Someone who will laugh and cry, and celebrate with us.  Someone who will share our hobbies and interests.  Someone who is trustworthy

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These are all ways of being a good friend

 

Imagine you've been told by your doctor to reduce fat or sugar from your diet or you will be very ill.  You meet your friend and have a moan!   “It's not fair! Why should I give up cheese and cream cakes?”  What would a good friend do?

 

Offer sympathy, and then take you out for a lunch of creamy soup, cauliflower cheese with creamy mash and death by chocolate? Or - - -

 

Challenge your way of thinking and point out that the doctor is probably right, even join you in the diet.  I hope a good friend would do the latter

 

In a recent gospel reading (Luke 16:1-13) Jesus tells of a manager trying to buy friends when he is faced with losing his job because he has proved untrustworthy.  But Jesus points out that when we are trustworthy with small things – we can be entrusted with greater

 

Buying friends?  Umm -  There is a Beetles Song – 'Can't buy me love'.  You can't buy friendship.  You can't buy God's love.  Friendship is based on mutual support, giving to each other, openness and trust.  You work at friendship

 

Christian friendship includes God, prayer, forgiveness, challenge and change.  We cannot buy God's friendship.  Christ died so that we can be restored into the friendship of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It is by God's grace that we receive mercy

 

This will challenge us daily.  We are called to model that sacrificial loving friendship to others

 

It challenges us.  It forgives us.  It sends us out to bring others into the best friendship of all.  God's