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Catch and keep

A turning point in the friendship of Denver Moore and Ron Hall, recounted in Same kind of different as me, came when Denver commented on the style of fishing called “catch and release.” He said it really bothered him because “we eat what we catch…in other words we use it to sustain us.” He continued, “So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon’ catch and release, then I ain’t got no desire to be your friend.” Ron felt like the world halted in midstride and fell silent like a freeze-frame scene on TV. Suddenly Denver’s eyes gentled and he spoke softly: “But if you is looking for a real friend, then I’ll be one. Forever.”
In many ways, we are disappointed by the failed commitments others make to us, and the commitments that we fail to keep. We catch and release friends along the way. Sometimes we transfer that disappointment and lack of dependability to God. The ancient writer, Teresa of Avila, observed that our difficulties in prayer come from “Praying as if God were absent. Many of our difficulties in daily life are probably the result of living as if God were absent” (The Tree of Life, 212). Doubting God’s commitment and presence with us may mean that we hesitate to move ahead in prayer, service or deeper friendship with God and others. It’s at this point that we can be reminded by God’s grace that a primary name for Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. That means God’s got our back, front, and middle; past, present, and future because we are caught and kept in friendship by the Holy Spirit. And in this embrace we are sustained and set free to love. May God bless you and keep you in real friendships this summer and forever.

Pastor Jeff Williams
Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church
10295 Myers Lake Avenue, Rockford

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