“When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand. And nothing, whoa, nothing is going right. Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there. To brighten up even your darkest nights.”
Carol King originally put these words to music and entitled her piece, “You’ve Got a Friend.” This was way back in 1971 when both she and James Taylormade recordings of this song. We’re all pretty familiar with it, that is, those of us of a certain age and particular, musical appreciation. Nonetheless, it is a piece of music we can all relate to because all of us at some time or another are in just, such a position; needing a friend to pull us out of the darkness and into the light.
We know to whom we ought turn when darkness overshadows, weighs us down and brings us all but to our knees. We have Jesus, a friend to all, Savior and Redeemer, brother and ally. It is in our beloved Christ Jesus we find solace, strength, guidance and unconditional, unquestioning and unequaled love.
“You just call out my name. And you know where ever I am, I’ll come running to see you again. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call. And I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, you’ve got a friend.
Sounds pretty simple, does it not? Just call out Jesus’ name and He will come running to see us, again. Well, it doesn’t always work quite that way, now does it? That is, Jesus never abandons us, but the response we desire may not arrive as quickly nor in quite the manner we desire. We don’t always get what we want, though more often than not, we do receive what we need.
My sisters and brothers, it is in one another, in each and every one of us, that we gain and receive the support, the friendship and guidance we seek. When we’re feeling down and out and we need a friend, it is in our faith community we find that which we need. Welcoming shoulders upon which we can lean. To find such security in our church family who are there to lift us up and share a friendly smile. We all have our flaws, shortcomings and crosses that weigh us down. Yet how fortunate are we to have others who understand and buoy our spirits with words of encouragement, selfless love and hands that help lift those painful burdens. When darkness blinds and confuses, seek the light that our sisters and brothers in community can provide; an illumination that guides us to a better, more comforting and reassuring place. It’s all possible because Jesus is here, alive and well and ever so willing to give of Himself for our betterment and happiness. Jesus the Redeemer who resides within us and shows Himself through our words and deeds.
We are all entrusted with responsibilities that at times, get the better of us. There are occasions we feel powerless, consumed by a hungry world that seems to feed on us, leaving us exhausted, beaten and abandoned. It is at such times as these that we need, more than ever, to be in the company of our church family, if for no other reason than to have friends to help ease the burden, to uplift and enlighten our soul and spirit and tear down the veil of darkness and let in some reassuring and welcoming light. And of course, there is Jesus to be shared in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist: food for the soul that blesses us with strength, comfort and grace.
There is a wind behind us that leads us to where we are to go. That wind, the blessed breeze is Jesus and He wishes us to be at a place where all are welcomed, warmly embraced and allowed to laugh, to sing, to cry, to worship and to simply ‘be’ with one another. For us, that would be our St. Nicholas Church and her church family. To paraphrase yet another song, which, no doubt we are quite familiar: “what a friend we have in Jesus.” A true friend indeed. In our church family we have a blessed abundance of friends, who care. Make good use of the Lord for He enjoys and savors our company just as all of us here, truly desire and savor spending time with another.