From the work in progress Life: A Book About Learning to Live
By Jim Rosemergy
I am a friend of God.
During medieval times, there was a group of people who lived throughout the Rhine Valley who called themselves “friends of God.” They were aligned with Meister Eckhart, a mystic priest, who believed deeply in the sacredness of the individual and that each person could experience the presence of God. In many ways, the “friends of God” were ahead of their time. Their quest was not to know about God, but to know God. They sought experience rather than knowledge, or perhaps for them true knowledge was experience.
Thousands of years before the Rhine Valley “friends of God” read and circulated the writings of Meister Eckhart, Abraham called God friend. I have wondered if I could continue the tradition and dare to call God my friend. Friends know one another. Surely God knows me, but would the Presence reveal Itself to me? Am I capable or worthy of such an experience? With halting steps, I began.
Calling God friend did not deny the Doer of mighty deeds, but it did allow me to entertain the possibility that I might find God in a still, small voice rather than a fire or a mighty wind. Perhaps I could sense my Friend with each breath I took. Maybe I could find evidence of the Presence during a walk in the forest or in the sounds of a city.
It has been many years since I joined the tradition of Abraham and the Rhine Valley friends of God, but in many ways these have been the most powerful years of my life. I’ve ceased asking God to do things for me. True friendship is not based on doing things for one another; it is based on being present for one another. To be a friend is to be willing toward… It is to be willing to listen. Friends don’t have to do mighty deeds. They just have to be a friend. That’s deed enough. A friend doesn’t have to do anything other than be present. Presence is enough. That’s what I try to do—be present for my Friend. To be willing toward.
God is not male or female to me. No longer is there Father God or even Father-Mother God. Instead, there is a Friend. My speech is not steeped in thee and thou. Friendship and formality are strangers to one another.
Friends don’t share all things; they share one thing—life. This is what I want to do with my Friend. I want to consciously share the great and the small moments of life. Friends can undertake great expeditions together; they can talk late into the night, or they can sit with one another without saying a word.
I can ask my Friend for help, but mostly I want to be of help. I am willing toward God. Much is received in friendship, but this is because more is given. This is the question I have heard when I asked about becoming God’s friend. What do you bring to a friendship with God? What gift can you give to the One who created you?
Surely, God needs nothing from me—or perhaps God does. If not, why was I created? Why are there billions of people on the earth? Today, I believe I am to bring two gifts to this friendship with God. I bring my attention and my willingness. It is all I have to give. Perhaps God can make something of these gifts.