Monday Rewrite: Friends

A piece that’s not just about those first followers…

Jesus is surrounded by those he has spent three years with, saying a heartfelt goodbye.

‘Matthew, do you remember that day you had the courage to start following, to take that first step? When you set aside all those other priorities? I guess you were a little shocked that I should ask you. But never doubt that call and keep going on this way, this rocky road. Don’t give up. It may not be easy but persevere. Please. Mary, d’you remember that day at your house? Making everyone jumpy as you sat there with all the men, learning, soaking up the truth. Keep bucking the trend, don’t worry what others think. Martha keep making all those wonderful things, never forget that cooking and baking and hospitality is vital, lifesaving at times, and just as spiritual as a million sermons. Thomas, oh Thomas … with your questions and your honesty, I love that. You made me smile that evening at the Passover when everyone else was nodding politely, but you weren’t afraid to be the one to speak up. Keep questioning, keep searching, keep digging for some reality. And Andrew, you brought so many friends to me, not least the wide eyed boy who took home the largest doggie bag in the world. Remember? He could hardly carry the thing, so much fish and bread! Must have fed his street for a fortnight. Keep on bringing folks. You do that so well. Joanna, thank you for your generosity, giving so much to keep us going on this road, being so sacrificial. We would never have been able to live as we did, to help others so freely without you. Keep on giving, when you support and help others, you’re part of everything they do. James, I love your gusto! Never be slow to tell the world what you think, never embarrassed about your point of view, keep on speaking your mind. Keep on rattling those polite restrictive cages and rocking those boats that hold others back. Ah Peter. What can I say? You’ve learned so much, and most of it by muffling and bungling. So don’t be afraid of mistakes, Keep learning as you trip over your feet, or stick them in your mouth. You’ll change the world. Mary… Mary Magdalene, never let anyone put you down or sideline you. Never. Remember that morning in the garden? The sun breaking across our faces, the smile on our lips a mile wide as we met again, the excitement in your eyes… keep that zeal. Never be afraid to let it show and impact on others. And John. Oh John… thank you so much for your friendship, I have needed that, I really have. Keep that at the top of your to do list. Please. You’re my friend, above all else, not merely a servant or a dogsbody, but so much more. You’re a friend of God. Keep that hope alive, and keep reminding others of that too.’

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