Friday, February 5, 2010
Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” John 7:2-8
I am part of an original family of seven, two parents and five children. I am the third daughter of four and the fourth child of the five. I have two older sisters and an older brother, along with a younger sister. My second oldest sister, Pegi, died when she was forty two. We learn a great deal from our siblings. We work out our identity with and through them, and sometimes in opposition to them. They share our blood and dna, the parents, and the culture of growing up in a particular family.
Our siblings often have more impact on us than our parents, especially when we are teenagers and young adults. I remember how cool I thought my older sisters were when I was young. I remember wanting to be as sophisticated and talented as they were. I often felt I fell short of their mark. As adults we have different relationships, and we are still working out our identities in relationship to one another.
Jesus' brothers come to invite him to the festival, and he struggles with joining them. He is conflicted - something we rarely see in Jesus throughout the Gospels. He sends them on, struggling with how he will be perceived, and finally decides to go with his disciples, but quietly, as if to understand himself through the public opinion of others - his siblings included. He was almost undercover there, and no one spoke to him for fear of retribution. Although his brothers might have been testing him by their invitation, there was also a natural testing and growth in their relationship.
Today, I want to give thanks for my siblings and the daughters we have been given. They have given me great insight into myself and into God's mark on my life. They have taught me about the image of the Creator and have given me space to find my own way, to develop relationship and personality among them. And we continue to grow and learn from each other, despite our differences and personal challenges. I pray that we can all know the blessing and challenges of our family and siblings, related by blood or not. For God's reign is found in relationship and we are knit into the family of God.