What does it mean to be a true friend?

This evening, around dusk, Chelsea Clinton will be married to Marc Mezvinsky on a private estate in mid-Hudson New York. It's not only the details of the wedding (dress, food, location) that have made the local tabloids and newspapers, but also the as-of-yet undisclosed list of guests. An article in the Washington Post today suggests that those who get invitations to the super hush, very elegant event will be elevated to the "Triple A List" of Clinton friends. And that after the wedding, people will be clearly designated into two categories: those who were at the wedding, and those who weren't. Being a "friend of the Clintons" is not something new. I remember being introduced to the acroynum FOB (Friends of Bill) during Clinton's presidency. Getting on the FOB list (and maybe even spending a night in the Lincoln bedroom) took social networking to a new level.

When Jesus talks about being a friend of His in John 15, he isn't offering entrance into a private club or social circle with privileges and prestige. Instead, he's talking about what it means to share His very heart and mind. Being a friend of Jesus means that we have bought into the plans and purposes of his Father, and share in the unity of the Trinity the desire to bring about the Kingdom of God-the reign of God's love. "I no longer call you servants," Jesus states, "but friends, if you do what I command." The commandment "Love one another" implies a servant/master relationship, but along the way, as the servant believes and acts out of the heart of the command, the relationship changes from one based on obedience to one that flows from a shared perspective. "Everything I have learned from the Father, I have shared with You," says Jesus. This knowledge, and acting out of it, makes all the difference.

I'm sure there are many good examples of servants becoming friends, but one that springs to mind is the relationship of Albert to Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins." As a child, Bruce (Christian Bale) loses his billionaire parents to a senseless murder. The story unfolds as Bruce struggles to conquer his fears and create his own identity. This journey would be impossible were it not for the constant help of his butler, Albert (played by Michael Caine). A true servant of the elder Wayne, Albert so embodies the values of the family he's served for generations that he becomes Bruce's most constant ally and friend. The result is that Bruce is able to become the person his dad would have been proud of.

The guests on the coveted wedding list for this weekend are people who truly know and are friends to the bride and groom. God's friend list is unlimited - the only requirement, a commitment to love as God loves. To join with God as He creates a community of people who share His heart and live out of His love.

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