As I wrap up my sermon series on friendship this Sunday, June 27, one of things I have shared is that all of us need people for companionship, encouragement, and support. We need them for help when we feel overwhelmed, for comfort when in grief, and for celebration when we are full of joy. Most of all, we need our friends when we become paralyzed with shame and guilt. Perhaps you have made some financial blunders, and you’re in big trouble. Or, your child is so angry at you for your parenting failures, that you don’t think they will ever get over it. Or, your marriage is empty, loveless, and tedious. Or, your drinking has gone from social to chronic. Or, your job is sucking the life out of you, but you’ve got a certain kind of lifestyle, and so, you’re stuck and can’t move. My message to you is that if they call on you, be a friend.
Some years back a crowd gathered in Washington DC for the memorial service of former Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey. Hundreds of mourners gathered, along with politicians and other dignitaries. All of Washington’s elite seemed to be there that day. But, one man was alone in the crowd! In fact, he stood off by himself. That man was Richard Nixon. This was the first time He was back to Washington since he had resigned after the Watergate scandal. And, of course, the general feeling was that Richard Nixon was toxic. Nobody would have anything to do with him. He was a pariah among people, for whom image is everything. Richard Nixon might have gone through that whole service alone, except for something that happened shortly before the worship service began. Jimmy Carter, who was President at the time, came into the room. And, before he was seated, he noticed Richard Nixon standing off, by himself. So President Carter went over to him. And with outstretched arms, he surprised everybody, and even Nixon himself, by smiling broadly and saying, “Welcome home, Mr. President. Welcome back home again!”
Sometimes, our friendships can come at unexpected times and from unexpected people. These are the people who can say or do the right thing, at the right time, and it makes all the difference. I will be sharing more about this with you this Sunday, June 27, as I will be preaching on “A Saving Friendship” regarding King David and young man named Mephibosheth. Hope to see you for worship this Sunday. Once again, we will be in person outside at 8:00 am on the FLC lawn (inside the sanctuary if it rains). If you attend at 8:00 am, you will be able to sit in your car and listen via the FM transmitter on 102.1. At 10:30 am, we will be in the sanctuary, while also broadcasting on Zoom, Facebook Live, and Youtube.