Saturday, July 16, 2011
Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:20-35
Family life can be complicated. No matter how agreeable, amenable, cooprtative and positive parents and siblings are with each other, there is conflict and misunderstanding. People who live closely together are bound to spark conflicts with one another. Folks who are related can be even more contentious - we are so much alike we drive each other crazy. Families are often blessings too, finding ways to lift us up when we are down, encourage us when hard times come, and fight for us when necessary. Being part of a family no matter how small or extended can be challenging and delightful on the very same day. And yet we are so much less without a family and I wouldn't replace mine for the world.
The crowds are making the life of Jesus and the disciples impossible. It is so crazy that they send for Jesus' family. The family come running and are truly worried. The mild young man, who was always prayerful and gentle has seemingly overnight become a rock star. They think the worst, as families do when a crisis arises. When they come to collect him, Jesus claims that those who do God's will are his family. This statement is often an excuse for folks to discard family when serving God. But I believe that he was, like any adult child in a large family, just trying to assert his own self, his own calling. It is hard to make your family listen sometimes, and he had a pretty influential mother (not to mention his father, God).
Today may we rejoice in the families we have been given, for the joys and challenges and all the stuff in between. There is not one perfect family, obviously not even Jesus' family. Despite our misunderstandings may we rejoice in those who love us and find new ways to thank them for their love and support.