Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Real Family

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50

When I was a kid, I was a major fan of the Addams Family. I even got a light bulb for Christmas one year that would light up when you put it in your mouth, just like Uncle Fester. It was a prized possession. Maybe I never saw my family as "average" or maybe I thought we were weird and different, but the Addams Family resonated with me, unlike other family dramas. Clergy kids tend to see the world differently, and our place in it anyway, so watching another family that was odd and quirky thrilled me completely. We were a mismatched bunch, Indian kids in a very white, suburban backdrop, and fitting in never happ0ened for me. Being part of an odd family and being affirmed in that was a gift.

Jesus is confronted, in the midst of teaching and healing, by an urgent request to respond to his mother and siblings. They were his family of origin, his people, the ones who stood beside him in his growing and awkward years. He doesn't want to stop to visit with them and declares that all the folks who honor God are his family. Good for us, a little awkward and off-putting for his family in that moment. And yet a point was made. No matter how alone we might be, no matter how abnormal, different or weird we might seem, we have a family in God. We are the siblings of Jesus, made flesh and blood family despite our origins, our strange family, or a broken past. We belong to God's family and are as welcome and familiar as any other, even the son of God. How amazing and kind, to imagine ourselves within the circle of God's immediate kin, God's beloved children, God's people welcome as close relatives at all times.

Today, we are invited to live into the call to be the family of God, by seeing ourselves, beloved and welcome and seeing others as God's family also. There are no outsiders or strangers at God's table. May today be a day of welcome for us all. May God's love be made real, God's touch be very close, and our identity so wrapped up in God's love that we know ourselves held close and supported in every step we take. May we in turn, offer welcome and affirmation to those around us, who might be feeling alone, afraid or outcast. May we strive to share the welcome and the love with everyone we meet this day.

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