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Heavenly Relationships

Heavenly Relationships

by The Reverend Beth Anne Nelson on June 15, 2022

TLDR: Try to mirror our holy friendship with God in our everyday lives.

Sometimes it is hard to understand Jesus’ message of God’s love for us. To be perfectly frank, sometimes it is difficult to fully understand God. The world is challenging and even the best of theological texts do not always help. I think this is why we need the three revelations of the triune God. As John notes, because it will take what is Jesus’ and declare it to us. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that The Spirit will take what is mine and declare it to you."1

I love the image from The Message of the Holy Spirit as friends. I think it particularly fits in our culture where the Holy Spirit guides us along the pathway to God’s love and grace. Sometimes, friendship is valued above marriage. Which is not what I am advocating, marriage is a sacramental rite, however, it does point to the importance of having non-romantic relationships. I digress.

Some of the best friends displayed in pop culture are non-romantic partners. For instance, Laverne and Shirley; Devi, Fabiola, and Eleanor; Meredith and Christina. This gives us a hint that our close relationship need not always be romantic. This expands beyond fiction to the Bible: think of David and Jonathan.

Our relationships in life can be mirrored in our heavenly relationship with the Divine.

I noticed a relationship in the Book Same Kind of Different as Me that might mirror the relationship we have with our Triune God. The author, Ron, describes his friendship with a man named Denver who was unhoused.2 Ron describes the moment the two solidified this friendship. Denver used the fishing idea of catch and release, “If you are fishing for a friend you are just going catch and release, then I have no desire to be your friend.' …Suddenly his eyes gentled and he spoke more softly than before: 'But if you are looking for a REAL friend, then I'll be one. Forever."3

This is the type of friendship we have with the Holy Spirit. It is a forever friendship; not catch and release.

If we make mistakes, we remember that Jesus loves us. God is like a new friend in that way, God is there for us no matter what we need.

Our Friend is able to help us understand Jesus in a new way. This still happens today, whether it is seeing Jesus in a secular book that we are reading, making connections in a movie, enjoying a meal and feeling the conversation move to the Holy in just the right way.

The Spirit took what is Jesus’ and works through us; I wonder how we can take our new understandings, lean into them, and reflect them better in our lives. I will be praying for all of you as you think on this topic.

For His Sake,

Beth Anne +

1 John 16:14
2 There are many problems with this book, including what I consider to be serious racism. I hope the friendship between a privileged white man to have changed his heart even more toward anti-racism. The friendship between the two is still compelling and demonstrates how the Holy Spirit can work in your life.
3 I modified the language, because honestly, I think it is less problematic to use proper English given my social location. Hall, R. (2006). Same Kind of Different as Me. Thomas Nelson Publishing. pp.106-108

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