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  A Christian Faith Magazine February 2004, Volume 9, Issue 7  

Rev. Mark Connolly
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One of the greatest gifts anyone can have is a solid friendship with another. Henry Adams, when he wrote his beautiful work on friendship, once said to have one friend in life is much, two are rare and three are hardly possible. He went on to say that the demands of friendship are so great that very few people want to pay the price totally and completely for a friendship with you or with me. Friendship has been called the eighth sacrament because it has a degree of holiness attached to it. Someone has said that the real test of friendship takes place when you personally do a favor for another without any expectation or acknowledgment or reward. That might sound wonderful in theory, but most of us in practice want an acknowledgment for having done a favor for our friend.

A true friend is an alliance when an alliance is needed. A true friend is one who will nurse us throughout all our sicknesses. A true friend is one with whom all our faults are safe and secure. The people who, throughout their lives, cultivate a solid friendship with another have found what Christ called the pearl of great price. Christ himself gave some beautiful directives concerning friendship. He said, "I did not come from heaven to earth to call you my servants, I came to call you my friends". Then on another occasions Christ said, "greater love than this no one has than he who lays down his life for a friend". I know what I am about to write sounds very idealistic, but if we could cultivate with each other solid friendships, if countries could develop solid friendships based on trust and loyalty, then we might have a chance for greater peace throughout the world. I think it can be said we can have all the weapons of mass destruction throughout the world, but we if do not have trust, loyalty between people and nations, peace will never be ours. A solid friendship is a source of peace to those involved and it can spread throughout the world and bring that peace about which Christ spoke when he said, "My peace I give to you, my peace I give unto you."

Far Away

In loneliness, in sickness, in confusion -
the mere knowledge of friendship
makes it possible to endure,
even if the friend is powerless to help.
It is enough that they exist.
Friendship is not diminished by distance or time,
by imprisonment or war,
by suffering or silence.
It is in these things
that it roots most deeply.
It is from these things
that it flowers.

- Pam Brown, b. 1928


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