The Friendship of Saints
It feels like one of the most special aspects of friendship when you start to take on the mannerisms and jokes and vocabulary of the people with whom you spend the most time. It is such a mundane but concrete expression of the impact that other people have on us, and that we have on others. One day you start to realize that your humor has shifted, your speech patterns have shifted, or maybe it is a complete surprise to you one day when somebody reflects back to you "wait, you just laughed like so-and-so."
You already know about me at this point that the primary way that I see the work and the life of the church is as an expression of friendship. I see the best of what church has to offer and the best of what friendship has to offer as venn diagram that is nearly a complete circle. The love and the care and the attention and the accountability that we receive from friends can be so, so Christlike, and is an example for us of the love God shows us. And in the ways that each of us reflects the imago Dei, the image of God that we are made in, our friends each glimmer in different aspects of who God is in Christ.
It is the goal of the Christian life to become the most like Christ that we can, and admiration of the Christlikeness in our friends and family can help us get there. I want to be patient like my friend Laurel, non-judgmental like Juniper, charitable like Will, hard-working like Kathleen, empathetic like Elizabeth, resilient like Spencer. I can only hope that, in addition to their humor and their mannerisms, the best of my friends rubs off on me.
Today is All Saints Day, and the church offers us a broad and deep canon of saints who are lifted up as examples of the lives the best among us have lived. I want to stand firm like Perpetua, and have faith like Stephen. I want to love creation like Francis. But I guess I'm saying that the saints walk among us, too. The Christian life is a group project, and whether it be in the company of the saints, or in the fellowship of your friends, don't be shy about taking on the mannerisms and vocabulary of the Love all around you.