Saturday, July 20, 2013

A House Divided

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

People don't always like to come clean about the divisions within their family or their church. "We are one big, happy family", I hear all too often, when the opposite is true. Being related by blood does not guarantee we will get along, rather, it often means we know how to irritate each other best.

Jesus is talking to the people about the self discipline and intentionality needed to be a real community. Any given group of folks can be a family or a church, but to commit to each other, in a true live-giving and servant fashion is completely different. We often sweep troubles under the rug, and placate the loudest whiners, but that controlled peace does not a family or faith community make. We are being invited by God today to seek a path of self-discipline and spiritual integrity. We are being asked to be adults in our faith so that the world might know God's love.

Today I ask God to help me take on the responsibility of building a community of love. May we work together to give of ourselves and serve the people in God's name. May we take our faith and obligations seriously, understanding that our healthy behavior can establish sanctuary and home for those who so need it today.

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