June 6, 2021: Families of God

stained glass window, jesus

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Families of God

Today’s lesson from the Gospel of Mark finds us at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. After selecting his disciples, he returns home, but the crowds prevent them from even eating. His family, concerned about the talk they are hearing, beg him to come with them. He has answered the scribes from Jerusalem. Rest is not yet possible, because the crowd sitting with him tells him that his mother, brothers, and sisters are outside calling to him. Jesus’ response is surprising: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” He looks around him and says, “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:33, 35).

We all have an understanding of the word “family.”There is our birth family (mother, father, and siblings). There is our extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins). When we marry, we become members of an entirely different family. There are adoptive families. Then we stretch a little further, our family of close friends (I was called “Mom” by several of my daughter’s friends).For some of us, we have a church family, people we worship with, work together with on various committees and groups.A still broader view is the family of all Christian believers. Then believers of all kinds.A family of all humanity!

The more I thought about this, the more I considered that the word “family,” as Jesus applies it, is somewhat like the word “neighbor.” Jesus wants us to be a light to the world, not just our little group, reaching out to others with love in our hearts, wanting nothing in return. It can be as simple as a smile (although right now the smile has to show in my eyes, since I wear a mask going anywhere!). It can be as simple as just listening.

Martha Griffis, Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania