You've Got A Friend

That is the title of a James Taylor song released in 1971 that reached number 1 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” list. It is still popular today. Maybe you’ve heard it. The first verse goes like this…

“When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights
You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you got to do is call and I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah
You've got a friend…”

Callie Holtermann, in a recent article for the New York Times titled “Elmo Asked an Innocuous Question,” writes, “If there was any doubt that the national mood could need a dose of uplift, more evidence showed up in late January. On X (formerly known as Twitter), the account for Elmo, the red Muppet from Sesame Street, asked what seemed to be a simple, innocuous question. ‘Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?’ In thousands of responses, social media users let Elmo know that no, they were not doing too hot. Users began pouring out their hearts to Elmo:

•“I’m tired, Elmo,” said one user.
•“The world is burning around us, Elmo,” said another.
•“Elmo I’m depressed and broke,” one wrote.
•Others told Elmo that they were anxious about the 2024 election.
•“Each day the abyss we stare into grows a unique horror, one that was previously unfathomable in nature,” replied author Hanif Abdurraqib. “However, I did have a good grapefruit earlier, thanks for asking.”

‘I don’t think anyone anticipated how deeply this particular question would resonate,’ said Samantha Maltin, a marketing officer for the Sesame Workshop. Maltin believes that Elmo’s question provoked a lot of feelings because his character is rooted in the nostalgic memories of so many millennials. After about nine thousand responses in about 24 hours, the account posted again. ‘Wow! Elmo is glad he asked!’ it read. ‘Elmo learned it is important to ask a friend how they are doing.’”

The fact is everybody needs a friend to talk with and connect to, it’s one of the reasons that the family of God/the Church is so important in our lives. But there is also the friendship of God. The Bible says, “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” in Proverbs 18:24. That friend of course is Jesus. In some of His last remarks to His disciples He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:13–15)

As we approach Easter remember that You’ve Got a Friend in Jesus. A friend who loves you so much that He laid down His life for you so you could have everlasting life—as the great hymn said, “What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” He is your friend and He is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your Pastor!

He Is Risen,
Pastor Ray
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