FRIENDSHIP IS PRAYER (548 words)
By Dalton Roberts
My Sunday Journal
I was surprised to see where Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop of New Jersey, thinks “the simple action of sharing our friendship and our acceptance” is prayer.
He was commenting on the verse, “Pray without ceasing.”
I don’t know why his comment surprised me. I guess I didn’t realize what a mystic he is. Mystics seem to think all of life is spiritual, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, and that our attitudes can be be prayerful at all times. I have been an incurable mystic since my childhood in my “honeysuckle cathedral.”
I think about how I feel when I am sitting and talking with a spiritual friend. Nothing is sweeter than the time I spend with spiritual friends. Why had I never considered this to be “praying without ceasing.” It is the same spiritual feeling I get when talking with the Lord.
Friendship is one of the most sacred things we have here on this planet to enjoy. It is a piece of heaven.
That is why I have usually tried to keep a woman as a friend when I lost her as a lover. In my younger years when lust was a strong motivating factor in choosing relationships, friendship was not always a part of the total relationship. But as I got more mature (aka older) I seldom had a relationship with a woman I didn’t like and feel to be a friend. Even if we had too many differences to remain lovers, I could not stand to lose her friendship. Some of my best friendships have been with women and a few with former lovers.
Not long ago I did the eulogy at the memorial service for a brilliant, interesting friend we called Fabulous Funky Faye. Although she was an attractive woman, we were never lovers. Our friendship was too special to take a chance on anything disrupting it.
Faye loved the blues. When some blues group was playing at a local venue, I would call her and pick her up and we would go. If the group ws good, we would marinate ourselves in an evening of blues.
I remember one night when the group was mostly rock and she said, “You know, they only played one blues song that first set. Let’s go to your house and play some Kebmo and music we really groove to” We did. we even danced a few songs. She was a sight when she danced. Every part of her body said hello to every other part of her body. I’m not much of a dancer but I sure loved to watch her.
Now please tell me how you can beat a relationship like that. Every time I sing a song she loved, like “Look Under Her Wing,” I have sweet fellowship with her even though she’s dancing on golden streets now.
Come to realize it, my times with her were always as sweet as prayer. So, Bishop Spong, you are right.
The Lord is not jealous. He doesn’t mind you bringing another person physically or their memory into your time with him. It fulfills one of his very special promises, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst.”
It just enlarges the prayer meeting