Closer than a Brother –
My brother, Emory, and I shared the same bed room, closet and clothes until I went away to college at age 17. Emory was handsome, intelligent, and full of life, energy and fun. When he died, his funeral was unlike any funeral I have seen at Plymouth United Church of Christ. There was a line of women and men, but mostly women, that stretched out the doors of the church and Warren Ave. was shut down to traffic. We played baseball, basketball, football and hockey- all in our back yard. We played in the same little league baseball association. Between high school and college, we played in a popular “Top-Forty” R&B band that performed at dances, public and private events. Many of the parties and dances we played were in virtual darkness with low light. The band practiced for hours before our engagements. The time we spent practicing was intense, but also a lot of fun. Emory and I were physically close, but emotionally distant. Looking backward upon our time together, I cannot recall one substantive conversation between us.
I am sharing this reflection, because in the 18th Chapter of the Book of Proverbs, the wisdom writer talks about friendship.
Proverbs 18: 24 Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin. 
How many friends do you have? Who are the people who accept you as you are? Who are these people who you can share your fears, frustrations, hopes and dreams? Thinking about Emory reminds me that just because we are connected through our DNA, does not mean that these are the closest relationships. I have some friends that are real friends. We actually talk, listen and share with each other. If a person can find even one person you can communicate and share with, you are fortunate.
Jesus Christ is closer than a brother. He who died for our sins has promised to love us, walk and talk with us and ultimately, grant us eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.
Proverbs 18: 23 The poor use entreaties,
but the rich answer roughly.
24 Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin. 
Questions for Reflection:
- How would you describe the nature of a true friendship?
- How are the relationships between family and friends similar and different?
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for friendship. I thank you for the people in my life who care and love me. I thank you for those persons who accept me as I am – those who accept my faults and celebrate my moments of excellence. Thank you Lord for receiving me, walking with me and talking with me and blessing me with the promise of eternal life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
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