I find it very comforting and consoling in my spirit to think that God wants to be my friend. He is not just intent upon the being the Master and Lord – he wants to develop a relationship with me as though we were equals, which of course we are not. However, in the Gospel today we hear Jesus tell his disciples that what he wants from them is a relationship of friendship – quite a remarkable request, don’t you think?

In many ways, to have a relationship of friendship with Jesus is more difficult than that of the Master-Disciple style of relationship. It is much easier for us to be told what to do in commands rather than be given the freedom to choose for ourselves how we will respond to the graces God offers us. Our God is a personal God who places a high premium on freedom of choice and respects the choices we make even when he disagrees with them! This is very different from the more common understandings of God as a vengeful, angry God who is never happy with what his subjects are doing. He has given as a great deal of freedom and autonomy and with such comes a higher degree of responsibility. Ah, yes, there is a catch!

It is important that we reflect upon God’s desire for friendship, as it will help us develop a truer image of him as a God who desires relationship above and beyond all other things. There have been times in the history of the Church, as well as the development of spiritualities that have failed to recognise the importance of God’s desire for friendship that have led to a development of an understanding of God that is very rigid and impersonal. We must avoid this tendency even though it may give us greater certainty in our relationship with God, I do not believe that that sort of certainty is a correct reflection of the nature of the relationship that God himself desires to have with us. We are all aware that there is sort of fluid nature to human relationships – an unpredictability that makes being in relationship with others both a joy and a good sort of a struggle. Our relationship with God should be no different.

What sort of relationship do I have with God – is it based on rigid guidelines or am I free to relate to him as a friend?

Holy Spirit, help me to know the truth of God’s character and so be freer and better able to enter into the fullness of the relationship he desires to have with me.