St Helens Methodist Church, Hastings
Ministers Letter – February 2021
‘Jesus our Friend ’
The year 2021 has begun like no other before. The covid-19 pandemic means that for the time being, it is better for us to remain at home rather than meet for worship or socialise with friends and family. Although daily life may be very different for us all at the moment we understand that it is in abiding by the restrictions introduced by the Government that we can protect and care for one another until such time as the infection rates reduce and we have all been able to have our vaccinations.
One of the things that has been so important for me in recent` months is the care and support of good friends. It has been so encouraging when someone has got in touch just to say ‘Hello’ and ask if all is well.
All of us need at least one or two close friends. A small boy defined a friend as someone who knows all about you and likes you just the same. A Spanish proverb says, “Those who possess good friends are truly rich.” And Solomon wrote in Proverbs 17.17, “A friend loves at all times.” I don’t think we can improve on that definition. To have someone who remains true to us under all circumstances is one of life’s choicest blessings. The support and encouragement that only a close friend can offer is so valuable when the burdens or challenges of life weigh heavily upon us.
Jesus, of course, is the ultimate friend, and he laid down his life for his friends. (John 15:13). Jesus is the friend who is always with us through all the troubles and difficulties of life. Jesus is the one to whom we can always turn when we need encouragement and support from a friend. As the hymn writer Joseph Medlicott Scriven declares:
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.”
When speaking about this hymn the author said that he wrote it in 1855 to comfort his mother at a time of sorrow. Over the years this hymn has also brought comfort and encouragement to many others too. Some may think the hymn is old-fashioned but the truth it contains remains true to this day and age. Jesus invites us to come to him as a friend at any time. He is never too busy, too tired or uninterested. At any time, in any place or situation he invites us to come to him for help.
One day when Jesus was speaking to the crowd he said: “Come to me all who are tired from carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). So let us take Jesus at his word and turn to the one who is truly our friend, rest in his presence and know the support and encouragement of the friendship he offers to us all.
God bless you.