Friendship isn't easy.
My daughter Laurel, three and a half years old, has revolving best friends.
I remember this season of my life well. In first grade I remember asking a friend, in the bathroom of all places, if he would be my best friend. He said, "no". But good news I could be second in line.
From a very early age we realize that we need friendship and community. And something seems off with out it.
This isn't just the story of our generation.
This is the reality of our humanity.
The book of Genesis narrates a story of God’s beautiful creation and the hidden desolation and bareness in creation. We exist in a world that is more connected than ever. It is amazing that it merely takes seconds to communicate with people all over the world. Technology has provided this beautiful opportunity yet it has seemingly exposed this desolation and bareness of loneliness.
Our society is described as the most connected and also the loneliest.
This is nothing new. This is the story of scripture. It details a story about humanity and creations deep need for communion, friendship and belonging. The most familiar story of Genesis is when Adam and Eve took a bite out of some fruit that is when this brokenness and desolation was exposed but for me this wasn’t the defining moment.
It was the moment God said, “It is not good that humankind should be alone” and God’s response was to make a “partner” someone that could navigate life together.
The story scripture tells us this…
Loneliness isn’t good and it is an ever reminder that we need friendships. Let me pause and talk about my own life. I am married to my wife and best friend Kiah and we have two wonderful children Isaac and Laurel. And yet I still feel this deep need for friendship and connection with those outside my family. Friendship is hard to come by in your thirties especially now. We want easy friendships. Friendships that don’t take work or let alone an investment of time. Friendships are never fast and always take a commitment. This is why Jesus doesn’t call his disciples friends at the beginning but at the end. But the enduring question for society is are we willing to make the long, commitment to one another? Unfortunately, this is the desolation of our culture because we all want it now and it perpetuates our loneliness.
The more enlightening part of this scripture is that God doesn’t create another Adam. God creates and forms someone different. Someone suitable. Someone that is unique yet different yet connected to Adam.
The cure to our loneliness isn’t people who look like us or talk like us. The cure is people who are vastly different than us who have had vastly different experiences than us. It is these connections that make for beautiful friendships and help us understand each other’s God-created uniqueness. Often times we demonize difference and are suspicious of one another (who doesn’t give every person they meet at background check?) and don’t embrace the God-sized story in each us of our lives.
Our slogan as a church is “Every story matters. Every story is unique. Every story deserves to be told.”
The question I struggle with is how can I provide a God-sized space for communion to happen. And how open am I to celebrate the uniqueness of each other without judgment or condemnation? Because when we occupy that space that is where beautiful friendships flourish and grow.
This is where we discover the yearning of humanity now and in generations past and in the writers of Genesis.
So maybe the call, conviction, and response are to take out your phone. And make an old-fashioned phone call to that distant friend or person that isn’t a friend but could be and begin to make space for that beautiful friendship to grow. And it will be there and only there that we will truly discover what God meant when God said, “it is good.”