"There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends...I do not call you servants any longer...but have called you friends." This is a remarkable statement that Jesus makes to his Disciples in the course of their final hours together. To take this statement at face value (and, given our reflection these past few days--this statement puts a high value on faces), it reminds us that at the heart of a Christian understanding of love is the practice of friendship.
When someone asks me, "What is the meaning of the Cross?" If I am thinking clearly, instead of giving some complicated, abstract theological response, I will say something like, "It is a friend laying down his life for his friends." All reflection on the meaning of the cross begins and ends there. Of course, when our understanding and practice of friendship becomes trivialized, my response will seem woefully inadequate. Without the love we call friendship, our lives will be woefully lacking. We know this to be true.
Perhaps we live in a day when our reflection on the Cross becomes our way back to a retrieval of the gravity of friendship and it's vital importance to our lives and to our knowledge of God. There is a world of difference between a Facebook Friend and the friendship that Jesus speaks of....the friendship that has the capacity to redeem us.