The Joy of Friendship
For the past several weeks, our Wednesday afternoon Prayer and Bible Study group has been studying 1 Samuel. The book covers Samuel’s life from his birth to his death. Samuel was a Prophet, Priest, and the last Judge of Israel. He anointed first, Saul, and then, David, as King of Israel. The book ends with the death of Saul and his three sons at the battle of Mount Gilboa.
1 Samuel is masterfully written. The ancient writer was a gifted story teller. One of my favorite stories in 1 Samuel is the story of King Saul’s son, Jonathan, and his deep love and friendship with David.
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself . . . And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
Jonathan and David became very close. The phrase “he loved him as himself” is repeated twice more in 1 Samuel. Jonathan and David were friends. Not even Saul’s many attempts to kill David could damage their friendship.
In the Fall of 1973, I was a home-sick freshman at The University of the South, located at Sewanee, Tennessee. I had no idea when I “pledged” Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity that September that my decision would have a positive impact on my life from that day forward.
This year my Deke chapter at Sewanee turns 50 years old. The chapter was given its charter on February 22, 1969. Additionally, the national fraternity turns 175 this year. So, the chapter is hosting a “Celebrate Deke” weekend. Over the weekend of February 22-24 Ann and I will be in Sewanee celebrating not only the founding of the chapter and fraternity, but friendship itself. We have kept up with about ten or twelve Dekes and their families over the past 40 years. For many years we’ve enjoyed getting together for a long weekend during the summer. We have seen our children grow up, get married, and have their own children!
The motto of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity is “Friends from the Heart Forever.” Jonathan and David certainly understood what it means to be “Friends from the Heart Forever.”
I thank God that I can count you as a friend. It is a pleasure to be your pastor.
~Pastor Jeff Lowe