Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I have called you friends

It is worth noticing how John pictures what happens when this love is fulfilled. 15:11 speaks of joy. It affirms human joy as the fruit of divine intention. Occasionally we need a reminder about this. The goal is not a purity which is spotless and stark, morbid and serious, but joy which fulfils itself in love.
Notice also how 15:15 addresses the issue of status. It abandons the imagery of servitude in favour of friendship. While the language of serving and servitude has dominated Christian tradition, this little correction deserves more reflection. Could we say: God does not want slaves; God wants companions? It creates a different model of spirituality. Of course friendship also means letting the other be and acknowledging that otherness in its integrity and sacredness. Certainly there is no thought of ‘pocketing’ God or Jesus in a way which reduces either - a kind of power-play which makes them manageable (pocket-able and in my control). Some people either want to dominate or be dominated. The model here is different. It does not compromise the integrity or holiness of the other, but affirms companionship in such holiness.

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