Let us pursue this grand and glorious gift of friendship that the Lord gives us. Let us rejoice in our friendship with the King of kings. C.S. Lewis says it well, “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?”
The King’s Speech won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Picture. It is the story of the future King George VI of England, who reluctantly ascended to the throne after his brother abdicated. The king had a significant struggle with a stuttering condition he had developed as a child. A successful speech therapist, Lionel Logue, helps the king overcome his problem. The king is enabled to address the nation via radio at the outbreak of war with Germany in 1939. This was a speech given in a great historical moment—thus the movie’s title.
In many ways, the film—which I can’t wholeheartedly endorse due to some strong language—is not so much about a king giving a speech as it is about an unlikely friendship that served two men and a nation. It was a friendship developed between the king and Lionel. At one point in the movie, the king and Lionel are talking, and for perhaps the first time George VI shares painful memories of his childhood. He thanks Lionel for his listening ear, and Lionel replies, “What are friends for?” The king sadly replies, “I wouldn’t know.”
I’m afraid the king’s response is one many of us would give. We have lost the gift and glory of friendship. This is due to a number of factors. We’ve traded talking for texting. We’ve abandoned fellowship for Facebook. Social media has, in reality, become anything but. The season of COVID-19 has pushed many people further away from each other, and we’ve lost our grip on the gracious blessing of friends. Men, in particular it seems, have lost the gift of friendship.
The Scriptures have a lot to say about friends and friendship. First and foremost, we are struck by Jesus’ words in John 15:15: “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.” Jesus calls His disciples His friends. This is powerful. This gives great weight to the entire concept of friendship. Jesus says we are His friends so that we can understand a little better what it means to be in fellowship with Him. He shares with us the truth of the kingdom. To be Jesus’ friend is to be let into the eternal relationship of love within the triune Godhead. Ultimately, we are brought into this relationship by virtue of the fact that Jesus, our King, laid down His life for His friends. He died in the place of His people on the cross to be raised again on the third day.