My friend, Geoff Colmer, (wonder and wondering blog – must work out how to link these blog things!) spoke about friendship at our NST meeting this week. It was exteremely good - ‘friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for life’ was among the many good things he shared in a matter of minutes.‘Who is your friend?’ – a question Geoff has been asking a number of Ministers and, from he says, provides some illuminating responses. I think I may well take this on board. Of course, he led us towards ‘the transforming friendship of God’, which prompted me to decide to dust off my copy of James Houston’s book by a very similar name. Jesus said, ‘I know longer call you servants, but call you my friends’ ‘you are my friends … if you do as I command’. Our love for him expresses itself in obedience, but not a pre-requisite was something else from Geoff which has made me think more. All this is on the back of my thinking about whether to celebrate my 50th. birthday this boxing day, or not. The answer is yes and I've been planning a ‘50 @ 50’ idea of inviting 50 closer friends for an evening somewhere. Who do you invite is the big problem? I’ve decided to stick to local folk just for ease of arrangements, but what has been a stark and scary realisation is how few people on my first draft are not yet Christians. Jesus, as Geoff reminded me has said a lot of deep things about the nature of friendship and I agree with all of it. What is disturbing me, however, is the discrepancy in my life – Jesus didn’t restrict the friendships he cultivated within the people of God.