This was delivered in the chapel at Love Wins Ministries on June 10th, 2012. The reading was from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 3 verses 20-35
Today’s reading is from Mark – and Mark is always a little weird, because with Mark, you get two stories for one. Scholars joke about Mark’s sandwhiches, where je puts a story in the middle of a story.
Like the reading today, where he is telling a story about family, and he puts this story about the pharisees in the middle of it. And it is easy to get so distracted by the middle story about the devil and unforgivable sins and what not that we ignore what Jesus was saying about family.
Jesus is busy. The Disciples have just been picked, and Jesus is healing sick folk and casting out demons and generally causing a ruckus. His days are filled with momma’s bringing their sick babies, hoping for a miracle. With lepers, hoping against hope that they can be made clean. Jesus is busy.
Word had gotten back to his family, and they came to get him out of there. They are woried Jesus has lost his mind.
And here is Jesus – surrounded by sick folk that need healing, by people who feel like God is ignoring them, by people who are on the outside of society, by folks who have been left behind in every way possible – and Jesus sends word back that he is ok, because he is surrounded by his family.
This probably did nothing to make his birth family feel better.
Last week, I celebrated my 40th birthday, and a lot of folks threw me a party.
And this party was filled with all sorts of folks – there were white and black and brown folks, gay and straight and trans folks, rich and poor and middlin folks. All sort of folks, from all sorts of backgrounds.
And I was feeling a bit down, not being around my family that day, and I look around and I see the huge spread of all different sort of people around me, and I thought, “These are my people. This is family”.
I once heard someone say that in this world, you get two families – the one you are born into, and the one you choose.
Jesus was talking to the family he was born into, and telling them about the one he chose.
Here is the truest thing I know – that following the Jesus path will bring you in contact with all sorts of people. And when we meet new people, we can react in one of two ways: we can say “This person is different than I am, and so they must be suspect”.
Or, we can say “This person is different than I am, but I know that they are made in the very image of God, like I am, and so we have something in common.”
Or, to put it another way, when you meet that stranger, you realize that you’re kin.
And when you start seeing other folks not as strangers, but as kin, well, the whole world changes. It just does.