Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Returning Home

Then Jesus went home; and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke 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 his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:19b-35 

Families are interesting groups of people. We want our loved ones to do so well and we are proud of them. We get afraid for them when they are too bold, upsetting the norms of society and standing up in the face of repressive culture. We can love so much, we want to smother them, away from the world's ridicule. Each of my family members is unique and we all grew up in a clergy house. We were expected to behave a certain way by the community but rarely did. Family and home can be our hardest critics.

Jesus comes home and is overwhelmed by the crowds. So much so that his family fears for him. He and the disciples cannot even sit down. His mother, brothers and sisters come to his rescue. They want to protect him from the crowds and the religious hierarchy.  They fear for his safety, thinking him out of his mind to put up with such craziness and abuse. Mary's tender little boy has become so famous that his presence signals danger. At this point, Joseph must have passed, for he would have surely joined the family. Their loving worry for him becomes our invitation from God to join the family. We are included in the family of God in our baptism and our willingness to serve God where we are planted.

Today I ask God to help me serve right where I find myself today. May we live as the family of God, serving the needs of those to whom we are sent, even when the world (and our families) think we have lost our minds.

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