Perhaps the greatest compliment Jesus of Nazareth ever paid his followers was to call them his friends. “I no longer call you servants,” e told his apostles, “because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends” (John 15:15).

Christianity has always hallowed love as the greatest of virtues, and friendship is love’s practical expression, knowing no distinction as to gender, class or even age. Friendship is based on commonality of interest, affection, mutual concern and responsibility. Friends can rely on one another.

One of the most satisfying aspects of later life is the opportunity to enjoy old friends and cultivate new ones. Acquaintances abound, but friends are different. During our workaday lives we tend to socialize with co-workers, but later on we can find friends anywhere and have the time and leisure to enjoy them. Friends offer commitment, candor, trust, honesty and commonality.

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