Tuesday, March 6, 2012
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
I am the fourth child in a family of five children, which is a large family these days, but too unusual when we were growing up. Each family has at least one eccentric, if not several, and in my family we seemed to be loaded with them. Artists, musicians, neurotics, big story tellers and everything in between. It would seem that part of a family's job is to keep one another from treading too far over the line (some invisible line known best when crossed). We love each other, put up with each others' foibles and try to keep one another from getting hurt, chewed up or at least, ridiculed by others.
Jesus' family shows up to try to save him from danger. I can see it now, Mary, hands on her hips, wide-eyed brothers and sisters, a pandemonium of love and futility. His family was worried he was out of his mind. Sure, Mary knew, from years of experience, angelic visitations and the like, that her son was to be the Savoir of the world. She got that part. But the scene in front of her was nothing like her imagining, and it seemed more like a riot and she feared for the whole circumstances. In her mind, things had gone terribly wrong. As it turns out, her son, chooses this moment to declare all of us his family, not just his flesh and blood, but all of us, complicated, confused and everybody in between. Family. People often read this as a rejection of his own family, but I hear it as the affirmation that Mary was looki9ng for, that we are all looking for - here is the Savoir of the world who can find a place at the table even for the likes of me and my family.
Today, I ask God to help us all live as the family of God, with all the bumps, warts, mental challenges and delusions that are simply part of being a family. May we, who have been welcomed, just as we are, likewise welcomed those who come, just as they are. The world abounds with judgement and rejection, family-less people, loveless relationships and folks who are shunned for small infractions and slight differences.
May we make God's love known by making room for everyone who comes our way today, for they are family, no matter who strange or different they may seem.