"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (King Solomon)
Most Mondays I take a longer than usual bike-ride up into the hills above Wenatchee. About two-thirds of the way up there is a rock upon which I like to sit, reflect and pray through events and conversation of the previous week and to begin praying for the events and conversations of the coming week. At some point, surrounded by the handiwork of Yahweh, I am quite regularly "undone" by the greatness of God's grace to me, and the huge accumulation of divine blessings that keep pouring into my life despite my ongoing sin and rebellion.
And somewhere near the top of that wholly undeserved "heap-o-blessings" are the cadre of friends that I have at Trinity Church who are aptly represented in the words of Merry (below.) My cup runneth over. May the Lord grant me grace to be the same for them.
“It does not seem that I can trust anyone,” said Frodo.
“It all depends on what you mean,” put in Merry. “You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin–to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours–closer than you yourself keep it. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway: there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the ring. We are horribly afraid–but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.”
–J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (Houghton Mifflin 1994), 103