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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Sirach 22Fool or Friend

friends[1]This book of wisdom is full of wonderful, universal sayings that last though the ages; and Chapter 22 is no exception.  As we near the end of another year, we often spend time thinking about our relationships, from our most intimate to our most casual.  Yesterday we considered how and why we forge and maintain relationships.  Today we continue that introspection and we examine the friendships and the value-structure we build.

When we interact with others . . .

Do we take the time, do we practice diligence in reviewing what we say before we say it?  Can we look at ourselves through the filter of today’s reading which describes both the foolish and the true friend to place ourselves somewhere along this continuum?  Do we find ourselves among those who let friendship come and go like dry leaves before a wind or like small stones lying on an open height [that] will not remain when the wind blows?  Or can we say that we work at being a true and constant friend, demanding much of ourselves as we struggle to walk that fine line between openness to reconciliation and refusal to enable abuse?

Fools and friends. We are surrounded by all kinds of people and we are engulfed in all sorts of circumstances.  We ourselves are sometimes the fool, sometimes the friend. As we move through a global pandemic, we likely have images of fools and friends who both encourage and infuriate us. Foolishness and friendship at times blur into one another. At other times they are starkly different. When our vision is clouded by too much input and too little truth, we have a true, authentic, and constant Friend. Let us resolve to always look for reconciliation where there are rifts. Let us draw healthy boundaries that discourage abuse. Let us walk in the way shown to us by Jesus. Let us leave behind the habits of a fool and take up the mantle of a true friend.

And let us pray . . .

God creator, when you formed us out of the universe, you had in mind that we would look to you for wisdom and that we would commit to the work of befriending not only the faithful who walk with you but those who linger on the margins as well. Teach us to move away from the tempting life of doing nothing in order that we avoid error. Guard us from the impulsive life of speaking and acting before we think. Grant us the strength to risk even a bit of ourselves just as you have risked all you have in your relationship with us. Move us out of any spiritual sluggishness, and energize us with your Spirit. For our part, we will put aside our willingness to suffer fools lightly or to behave as fools ourselves. We will observe the careful lines between these worlds of fools and friends as we remain open to the reconciliation you ask all of us to seek. As we prepare to enter into a new season and a new cycle of our lives, we pledge this in Jesus’ name. Amen. 


First written on December 28, 2010; re-written and posted today as  a Favorite.

For another reflection about Friendship: The Space Between, click on the image above or go to: http://camryndarkstone.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/real-friends/

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