It was a hot summer day in Pinecrest, California when I first met Beau Delmore at the summer camp where I worked in college.  A large group of us had been assigned to spread mulch in order to keep the dust down and make the grounds look pretty.  As we worked with pitchforks and shovels to spread the mulch in the hot sun, Beau decided that instead of spreading mulch, it would be a lot better if he went into one of the unoccupied cabin tents for a mid-morning snooze.  It was my very first introduction to Beau, and to be honest, I didn’t like him one bit.  How could he ditch the rest of the staff to go take a nap in the middle of our work!?!  I grumbled to myself and the rest of the staff around me as Beau wandered off to go enjoy his slumber while the rest of us toiled.

I carried my dislike for Beau around with me for a few days before we just happened to find ourselves sitting at the same table in the dining hall one evening.  As I reluctantly made conversation with Beau, I realized we actually had a lot in common.  I even found myself laughing at some of his jokes.  Before I knew it, Beau and I had been sitting together for well over an hour telling stories and quoting lines from our favorite movies.  Did this guy just become my best friend?

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship these last couple of days because Beau is getting married this weekend and I will be traveling to California to be in his wedding.  Despite our rough start (I later found out Beau was sick the morning he decided to take a mid-morning snooze in the middle of mulching), Beau has become one of my best friends.  He is one of the most thoughtful, funny, and caring people I know, and I cherish his friendship.

St. Thomas Aquinas thought that friendship is at the very core of what it means to be a Christian.  It is through our friendships that we live out some of the most basic principles and commandments of the Christian faith.  Think of “Love your neighbor as yourself” or, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”  Our friendships are one of the many avenues that can help connect us to God and teach us what Christian charity is all about.  It is through our friendships that we can practice, live out, and experience the kind of love that God gives freely to all of creation.

Our own friendships and relationships, at their best, help us strive to take on the characteristics of God.  They can also show us what God’s love is like.  It is worthwhile to pause every so often and think about those friends and those relationships that draw us closer to God.  Think about it for a quick second: Who are those people in your life that draw you closer to God?  Who are those people that enable you to experience the gift of God’s grace?  I hope you are able to find some time to give thanks for the “Beaus” in your life.  May they draw you nearer to the heart of God.

Pastor Stephen

PS — We have heard from Pastor Elizabeth and her family. They have completed their backpacking trip through the mountains of Colorado, and they had a wonderful time.