Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”
Let those be thy choicest companions who have made Christ their chief companion.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Watson. Come at once if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same.”
Friendship is the nearest thing we know to what religion is. God is love. And to make religion akin to Friendship is simply to give it the highest expression conceivable by man.
He’s what we really need. If your friend is sick and dying, the most important thing he wants is not an explanation but for you to sit with him. He’s terrified of being alone more than anything else. So God has not left us alone.
The best mirror is an old friend.
Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .
In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.
Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”
I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh.
“There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”
We need to admit the mind into Christian fellowship again. We need the mind disciplined in Christ, enlightened by faith, passionate for God and his creation, to be let loose in the world.
Like the sacramental use of water and bread and wine, friendship takes what’s common in human experience and turns it into something holy.
Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God.
He [Bernard Shaw] hasn’t an enemy in the world, and none of his friends like him.
George Bernard Shaw, Sixteen Self Sketches
All true friendliness begins with fire and food and drink and the recognition of rain or frost. …Each human soul has in a sense to enact for itself the gigantic humility of the Incarnation. Every man must descend into the flesh to meet mankind.”
In each of my friends, there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity.
Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only to his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.
Alexandre Dumas Père
Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives, and remembering what one receives
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
The Christian concept of god as Trinity is the most sublime articulation of otherness and intimacy, an eternal interflow of friendship. This perspective discloses the beautiful fulfillment of our immortal longing in the words of Jesus, who said, Behold, I call you friends. Jesus, as the son of God, is the first Other in the universe. . . . In friendship with him, we enter the tender beauty and affection of the Trinity. In the embrace of this eternal friendship, we dare to be free.
We are not God. We are simply the image of God and our task is gradually to discover that image and set it free.
One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.
Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith)
“There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends, that’s the real test.”
Aelred of Rievaulx
God is friendship.
Gregory the Great
And we, as often as we hear anything of good people, draw in as it were through our nostrils a breath of sweetness. And when Paul the Apostle said, “We are a good odor of Christ unto God,” it is plainly given to him to be understood that he exhibited himself as a savor indeed to the present, but as an odor to the absent. We therefore, while we cannot be nourished by the savor of your presence, are so by the odor of your absence.
One of the aims of prayer is to grow in friendship with God. If this is the case, then let’s consider what constitutes a friendship, and then try to pray in accordance with that. One of the things about friends is that they want the same thing for each other. Not that they necessarily both want ice cream at the same time, but that the well-being of one person is tied to the well-being of the other. This doesn’t just mean that God wants what we want, but that we want what God wants out of friendship for God. That is a basis for intercessory prayer. If God’s deepest longing is for the well-being of the world, then God wants the well-being of Bosnia, and we pray for that out of friendship with God.
We all want to feel like we come together as equals, with each of us bringing something unique and vital to the table. That’s how friendship works: we join forces, knowing each of us has something to learn from the other, and both of us benefit from the relationship. You bring the brains, I bring the ice cream, and everyone wins. As soon as someone thinks they’re there to “minister,” we are no longer equals.
Digital connections . . . may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. Our networked life allows us to hide from each other, even as we are tethered to each other.
Friendship, if it is the friendship of God, is to be characterized by fidelity in which you are even willing to tell the friend the truth. Which may mean you will risk the friendship. You need to be in that kind of community to survive the loneliness that threatens all of our souls.
“Reflections on Learning How to Speak Christian,” ABC Religion & Ethics, August 16, 2010.
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