Christian Friendship

Note: I have updated this post with a story about the featured hymn “Blessed be tie that binds” shared by my dear friend Ruth.

Thanksgiving is in a few days and I have been trying to focus on being thankful to God this year for every blessing, and every trial as well.  This year will be a simple meal shared with my Brother and a visit to see my Mother in the nursing home. I am so thankful that she is still here with me and even though I wish circumstances were different, I am thankful to God for her health and just to be able to hold her hand and spend time with her and my Brother.  My Church has a service Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and everyone writes down something they are thankful for this past year and my Pastor shares those thoughts with the congregation. I have so many things to be thankful for but I think this year I am especially thankful for Christian friends.

I was searching the web looking for a poem or text to sum up my thoughts and came across this on Grace Gems.Sadly I have no idea who wrote it but it beautifully expresses the Grace God has shown me in blessing me with Christian friends. They have uplifted and encouraged me, held me accountable when I was wrong, reminded me of my hope in Christ and shown me Godly love and affection and what it means to be selfless, caring and growing in Grace. I am so blessed to have known and loved each and every one of you…may the peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ be with you all this thanksgiving.

Christian Friendship

Next to communion with God, there cannot be a more refined felicity than the communion of saints.

Everything holy in principle, and exalted in prospect, is associated with the assurance, that the friends whom we love upon earth, shall be our friends in the presence of God our Savior. Worldly attachments resemble the summer showers, which rapidly swell the brooks, but soon pass away; while Christian friendship, the communion of saints, is like a perennial spring. The love of Christ towards his people is the ever-flowing the ever over-flowing fountain of blessedness, whose refreshing streams are the most abundant when most needed.

Oh! that I may daily partake of these waters of salvation! How sweet it is to taste that the Lord is gracious. His consolations are neither few nor small. When we forsake Him, we forsake our own mercies. And yet, alas! how prone we are to forsake the fountain of living waters, and to “hew out to ourselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” This conduct is our folly, as it is made our misery.

Our roses grow on prickly stems. Everything, even our choicest comforts, have some admixture of sorrow, to remind us of the fall. There is, O blessed assurance! a world where all is perfect, where pleasures flow like a river, pure as crystal, from the throne of God; where Christian friends, united here in Christ, shall meet, in perfect holiness, to part no more. Oh! what a resplendent view is opened to us through the gospel. What pure delights those people lose, who have no relish for communion with God, no participation in the communion of saints. The friends of Jesus, are the friends of each other. They love each other for His sake, who is their beloved and their friend. With united voices they can sing,
“Bless’d be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.”

There is something magnetical in genuine Christian love. It attracts heart to heart. In such a world as this, how invaluable is a Christian friend; one, on whom we can rely, and into whose bosom we can freely pour those thoughts and feelings which occupy our own. This world, like “a peevish April day, is made up of rain and sunshine.” Here, we are called to endure; in heaven, we shall be privileged to enjoy. Brethren in Christ, whose hearts are knit together in love, shall, before long, meet around the throne, united to their glorified Head.

How delightful is the thought of being forever with the Lord. How composing under every trial is the assurance of seeing Him as he is, and being made like Him in the perfection of love. O that my heart were more and more assimilated to my divine Lord. Holiness is the health of the soul. Holiness is happiness. Holiness is heaven begun. Heaven must be a place of unspeakable bliss, where God our Savior manifests his glory; where the holiest affections will be in their highest, perpetual exercise; where all the excellent of the earth shall be assembled; and where, the very element of the place, is Eternal Joy!

Blest Be the Tie That Binds

John Fawcett, 1740–1817

“We just cannot break the ties of affection that bind us to you dear friends.” As Mary Fawcett assured the little congregation at Wainsgate, England, of the bond of love that she and her husband felt for their poor peasant parishioners, Pastor John decided to express his feelings in a poem about the value of Christian fellowship.

The following Sunday, John Fawcett preached from Luke 12:15: “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses.” He closed his sermon by reading his new poem, “Brotherly Love.”

At the age of twenty-six, John Fawcett and his new bride, Mary, began their ministry at an impoverished Baptist church in Wainsgate. After seven years of devoted service in meager circumstances, they received a call to the large and influential Carter’s Lane Baptist Church in London. After the wagons were loaded for the move, the Fawcetts met their tearful parishioners for a final farewell. “John, I cannot bear to leave. I know not how to go!” “Nor can I either,” said the saddened pastor. “We shall remain here with our people.” The order was then given to unload the wagons.

John and Mary Fawcett carried on their faithful ministry in the little village of Wainsgate for a total of fifty-four years. Their salary was estimated to be never more than the equivalent of $200.00 a year, despite Fawcett’s growing reputation as an outstanding evangelical preacher, scholar, and writer. Among his noted writings was an essay, “Anger,” which became a particular favorite of King George III. It is reported that the monarch promised Pastor Fawcett any benefit that could be conferred. But the offer was declined with this statement: “I have lived among my own people, enjoying their love; God has blessed my labors among them, and I need nothing which even a king could supply.” Such was the man who gave us these loving words:

Blest Be the Tie That Binds

1. Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

2. Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent pray’rs;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims, are one,
Our comforts and our cares.

3. We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

4. When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
Lyrics: John Fawcett
Music: Hans Georg Naegeli

Lyrics: John Fawcett
Music: Hans Georg Naegeli

 

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Christian Friendship

  1. Love everything about this post, sweet Teresa. Christian friendship is such a joy to the heart, founded on the Rock of Christ, always pointing to Him. “It is not good for the man to be alone”. We need our friends, and I love how in Pilgrim’s Progress Christian is blessed with Faithful and Hopeful to keep him company along the way, to encourage and support. Thank you for being my friend, your friendship to me has been a wonderful blessing this past year, how you have supported and encouraged me! Love you so much.

    I pray your Thanksgiving with your mother and brother is truly blessed by God.

    • Teresa

      I love you Diana, and I thank God for your precious friendship. You have been such a source of encouragement and cheer to me, what would I do without you mate? 🙂 When I think of Christian, and his walk home with faithful and hope, it so reminds me of the faithful and hopeful friends God has brought alongside of me for this journey home. I am so blessed beyond measure my friend.

  2. ” Oh! what a resplendent view is opened to us through the gospel. What pure delights those people lose, who have no relish for communion with God, no participation in the communion of saints. The friends of Jesus, are the friends of each other. They love each other for His sake, who is their beloved and their friend. With united voices they can sing,

    “Bless’d be the tie that binds
    Our hearts in Christian love;
    The fellowship of kindred minds
    Is like to that above.”

    Thank you, dear sister, for this beautiful Thanksgiving post. Like our dear Diana, I love everything about it.

    You said, “… it beautifully expresses the Grace God has shown me in blessing me with Christian friends. They have uplifted and encouraged me, held me accountable when I was wrong, reminded me of my hope in Christ and shown me Godly love and affection and what it means to be selfless, caring and growing in Grace.”

    Amen, amen sister. Thank you for being such a dear friend and doing the same for me, along with so many others. We truly are blessed in our friendships and I love you so very much!

    Thankful me, thanking you!!!
    Ruthie

  3. Teresa

    Ruthie seeing your name here brings a huge smile to my face! 🙂 I am so blessed to have met you, and be able to grow in our friendship, serving the Lord and taking this journey together has been such a gift my friend. I love you, Diana and all of my friends…”online” and otherwise. The thought of us praising our Lord and Savior together for eternity is overwhelming…what a day that will be my friend! Love you and thank you for stopping by.

  4. I really loved this Teresa! And I so appreciated learning about this pastor who wrote that wonderful old hymn. I’m definitely sharing it with our pastor and I know he’ll be blessed by it.
    Hope you are well and enjoying the season.
    With Love!

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