Who is my mother, brother, sister?
« Just then his mother and brothers showed up. Standing outside, they relayed a message that they wanted a word with him. He was surrounded by the crowd when he was given the message, "Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside looking for you."
Jesus responded, "Who do you think are my mother and brothers?" Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, "Right here, right in front of you—my mother and my brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God's will is my brother and sister and mother. »
(Mark 3: 31-35: The Message, Eugene H. Peterson)
As a foster parent I know that parental love is not about biology. I have welcomed into my heart and my home many youth over the years whose names never matched mine. I have been transformed in these relationships that were based on love, fulfilling promises and commitment.
Jesus redefines family biology in this simple gospel story.
I imagine that he was used to his mother telling about the 'specialness' of his birth. Not again Mom, please, he may have said. At 30 years old, Jesus, the eldest, left home to live God’s call on his life. He had outgrown the birth story and was ready to concentrate all his energies living as an itinerant preacher, to be judged on his own merits. He leaves home never to return. Mary, who was left in the care of his siblings, comes to him expecting priority status. This visit is used to show a realignment in Jesus' changing sense of filial relationship. Even Mary will transition into a new relationship with her son when she becomes a follower of Jesus.
Nothing stays the same? It encourages me to know that people evolve and that it’s not our biological family alone that determines spiritual identity. As important as it is to recognise our children as belonging to the Christian family at birth (baptism), each person needs to name their personal allegiance to living Christ's way. Each one needs to become a follower of Jesus by choice.
God has no no grandchildren. Only sons and daughters.
We are invited into relationship with God and Jesus based not on bloodlines, family loyalties, tribe or even status but on obedience to God, living in the light and resisting evil and empire. Jesus is looking for brothers, sisters, mothers!
On this Lenten Journey 2018 we hear the stories of scriptures as we follow the Bible Reading Guide inviting us to reimagine all our relationships.
We are transformed from the inside out as we follow Jesus wherever he leads us.
Will you/I be a Jesus follower?
A Lenten Blessing:
May the blessing of God
Give us strength for the journey;
May the Spirit of wisdom
Give us vision for the road;
May the love of Christ
Make us caring companions;
We go forth in the Lenten time.
Que la grâce de Dieu
Nous donne de la force pour le chemin;
Que l’Esprit de sagesse
Nous donne une vision pour la route;
Que l’amour du Christ
Fasse de nous des compagnons compatissants;
Nous avançons en ce temps de Carême.