Mothers’ Union Devotion Sunday 9th May, the Sixth Sunday of Easter
I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. John 15. 15
One of the most poignant images of the distinction between servants and friends was at the funeral of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Queen was accompanied in the car down to St George’s Chapel by Susan Hussay, a close member of her household. Someone whom she has been in a bubble with throughout the lockdown. Then in the chapel the Queen sat in isolation, no member of her immediate household bubble sitting alongside her, because they were servants. The restriction of thirty guests at a funeral, meant there was no room for them alongside the Queen’s immediate family. As those wonderful films, Mrs Brown and Queen Victoria and Abdul, attest to, however, the close friendship between servants and their employers can result in a deep bond than provides welcome comfort at times of hurt and loss.
Jesus says the servant does not know what the master is doing. Of course, generally a servant will often know what the master is doing on a practical level. What a servant does not always know, is the overall plan, the inner workings of the master’s mind. That is normally kept for intimate confidants, peers or equals who have the same concerns, who live in the same social circles.
Jesus tells his disciples ‘You are friends because I have made known to you what I have heard from my father.’ The knowledge of God that Jesus brings to us today is just as deep, just as timeless, just as lifesaving as it was when he spoke to those disciples in the flesh. It is the knowledge that means we are not servants but friends of Jesus. Not servants but friends, because we have heard the Word of God. The Word of God speaking in our lives, through Scripture, through our prayers, through those among us, who bring us messages from Jesus in their words and in their actions.
Being friends with Jesus does not mean that we are completely free to do whatever we want. Jesus commands all who are his friends to ‘love one another as I have loved you’. When we love each other with the deep love that Jesus shows to us, we discover a fruitful love that lasts and lasts.
Heavenly Father we ask for the strength and wisdom to follow your commandment to love one another as you have loved us. Help us to bear this lasting fruit whenever, wherever and with whoever we find seemingly impossible to love. We ask this through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
With all my love and prayers