I’ve never been a posse kind of person. I’ve always only had one – maybe two really close friends at any time in my life. It was just enough to not feel excluded in society. Friendship is a delicate word. In our relationships, we count as friends those who’ve supported us when we needed it the most, spoke the truth when we needed to hear it and only a friend would let you know that you’ve hurt them. Not everyone will do that for us. I feel blessed that I can count as friend someone I’ve known since middle school, and a few I’ve known only within the past decade. The story of the paralytic being carried by four people and brought to Jesus to be healed at first seemed phenomenal to me. Then I remembered my faith community. Perhaps at the time the four coming together did not realize the power behind their action to carry the burden of this physically marginalized person. Particularly when the going is tough for us, it is an example of the strength of our friendship with Christ. When the posse scatters, a true faith community of friends will carry us through.
…all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” Mark 2:1-12
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 2:11-22). Prayer is always a good way to sustain the spirit and this one from Ephesians I believe is particularly good to embrace. The writer commends the readers and encourages them to focus on their relationship with God in order that the gift of the spirit of God within will continually guide and strengthen them.
Often the issue we have in this journey is whether or not we will allow God’s love to guide and strengthen our resolve to do the work God has called us to do. Our focus on the spirit within will help us stay a course that is pleasing to God. This is not to say that the course will be perfect by human standards. Rather it is a course that involves praise and thanksgiving for our blessings (including hardships & lessons learned), confession and repentance for our mis-steps (including disobedience to God’s word) and our testimony to the glory of Christ to which God in his grace heeds. Thus, when we lose focus (as we sometimes do) in this journey, God’s discipline and mercy will help us regain our focus on his spirit within and move us forward.