Unlikely Friends

Mar. 16, 2012

Luke 23:12

That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies.

People can be so funny sometimes. I don’t mean “Ha, ha, ha!” funny. I mean, “What’s up with that?” funny. One day, arch enemies. Next day, best buds. Isn’t it funny?

Ever had a “friend” that didn’t give you a good first impression? I have. Having graduated from a small, rural Wisconsin high school, attending UW-Madison was huge. At my first college lecture, there were more people enrolled in this class than my entire high school.

The class was Dairy Science 101. (Before I was a pastor, I worked with dairy cattle.) We also had a weekly lab with about 20 students. For our first lab, we met where animals were rendered. It was about 90 degrees outside. There was no air conditioning in the building. Our project for the day: examine a cow’s four different stomachs, identifying and noticing differences between each stomach. It was hot. The stomachs had an odor. Add the humidity and the warm air temp, even my solid stomach was doing a roller coaster ride.

We were to work in groups of three or four. I knew no incoming freshman.  Thus, I knew no one in the lab. I scanned the people. My attention was caught by this blonde gal. Physically, she looked like a female version of a middle linebacker: a larger muscular frame. She was chumming with some of the guys. It appeared they kind of knew each other. But the kicker: this brut of a gal was dressed in a cutesy coordinating shorts outfit. I took one look at her and thought to myself, “She will never be a friend of mine.” I knew for sure when the smell became too much for her and she had to be excused. Right.

Within three weeks, she was one of my closest friends on campus. Today, I can call any time day or night. We’ve cried on each other’s shoulders, consider each other’s parents personal friends and shared a ton of memories. I really don’t want folks from church getting too buddy-buddy with her because she could share stories that don’t need repeating. She assures me this won’t happen because she would incriminate herself.

What brought us into a close friendship is not the same as Herod and Pilate. We didn’t have to deal with a person we felt threatened us. Yet, there is a similar thread. Like Herod and Pilate, my friend and I became close friends because we have significant shared experiences. When we repeat various stories, our husbands do not understand why they are so funny because they were not there.

As I think about my closest friends, sometimes it isn’t logical for us to be good friends. These surface things have very little to do with why we are rock-solid friends. We’re friends because we trust and respect each other. We’re friends because we have similar values. We’re friends because often we see something beyond ourselves and humanity.

Were Herod and Pilate thick-skinned friends or mere acquaintances? Those details aren’t included. They moved beyond the barriers that limited their friendship. Did they eventually look back and laugh about how one time they were unlikely good friends, as my friend and I do? We’re not sure. People can be funny sometimes. Shared experiences are very powerful when it comes to building friendships. Talk to any person who has served in the military overseas if you aren’t sure this happens. This is anything but funny. This is very real.

Let us pray: Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In his arms he’ll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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