Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Servant or Friend?

The Gospel for the 6th Sunday of Easter is John 15:9-17

Would you rather be someone’s servant, or friend?

If you were that person’s servant, what would be expected of you?

And if you were that person’s friend, what would be expected?

I asked these same questions at Wednesday’s eucharist at Williamstown Commons, and one elderly lady answered that last question, “Nothing!”

Or is it that the expectations made of a servant become the servant’s duty, while a friend rises to meet the expectations of a friend not as a duty, but as a delight, a privilege, an opportunity?

So which better describes how you believe God sees you: servant, or friend?

When you pray, how do you see yourself in relationship with God: Servant? Friend? When I think of formal prayers in our Prayer Book, several come to mind that say, “We, your humble servants…” Not so with “We, your cherished friends…” How come?

What did Jesus say to us today? “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.”

A servant doesn’t expect explanations. Not, “I’m asking you to wash these windows because it’s been six months since they were washed, and besides, I’m planning a big party later this week…” No, just “Wash these windows.”

Friends reveal to one another what matters to them, what they hope for, and care about. And so they invite a sharing in one another’s lives, taking part in one another’s burdens and blessings.

It takes some doing—even a lot of doing. We can fail to build a friendship, or we can fail to keep a frienship, by not actively taking part in one another’s blessings and burdens.

“You are my friends if you do what I command you,” says Jesus. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Is that an order a servant can fulfill? Or does it take a friend to rise to that privilege, to accept that opportunity and delight in it?

Which describes better how you believe God sees you: servant or friend? Do you expect your relationship with God to be your duty, or your delight and privilege and opportunity?

Today, the first day of the rest of your life, which calling do you choose?