In the Moot Alt Eucharist on the 11th October 2009, Jemma Allen explores friendship as the sacramental outpouring of God's love. Jemma reflects on the key Gospel phrase 'I have called you friends...' with a God who identifies friendship with sinners and drunkards. So it is through friendship that God's purposes are outworked, transforming all things back into restored relationship with God. Therefore, friendship lies at the heart of the Christian life, that changes us and draws us into closer relationships with the divine. Loving our neighbours and our God. Friendship is the antedote to the structures of dominance and individualism that stand in opposition to the justice, peace and liberation that we proclaim when we confess a faith in Christ. Jemma is Chaplain at Waikato University and the Ex-ile Alternative Worship Community in Hamilton, North Island New Zealand.
Friendship is not some gimmick that we can market as a way of successfully living a Christian life. It is not even primarily about about an act of will or making friendships in a calculating way. Friendship as a spiritual practice, as the mark of a disciple, as a proclamation of the Good News of the Reign of God – this friendship is about entering into authentic relationships, relationships of vulnerability and trust, relationships of mutuality and care. In allowing ourselves to be affected by who we live with and how we live with them, by the gifts we receive in and from our friends, we open ourselves to being transformed by love and so enlarging the realm of God: the kinship and new community proclaimed by Christ. That, my friends, would be Good News!