all in the family – a reflection on Mark 3:20-35

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Gospels / Lectionary / New Testament / Year B

The following is a reflection on Mark 3:20-35, the Gospel lesson appointed for Proper 5B, according to the Revised Common Lectionary.

Bow Bridge

"the girls by bow bridge" Photo by Rick Morley

A couple of weeks ago, while sermonizing, I talked about The Way, the stunning movie about the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. It’s a story of journey, and grief, and loss—but it’s also a story of a group of complete and total misfits who come to hate each other…and then love each other. They end up inspiring change in one another every bit as much as the 800km pilgrimage route.

In a sense, no matter how dysfunctional they seem to be at times, they become something like family.

Family is as foundational a concept in the Bible as anything else. The Bible begins in Genesis, not with talk of nations and tribes…but families.

Big families. Real families. With moments of disfunction so great it makes your head spin—and gives one pause at the phrase ”biblical family values.”

And, sure, there are other great metaphors to describe the relationship between God and humankind. King and subjects. Master and slaves.

But, it always comes back around to family.

Sometimes God’s faithful people are likened to the bride of the Bridegroom. And our infidelities are then compared to adultery.

But, most of the time we’re God’s children. God’s daughters and sons who bring great joy as well as great consternation.

And so, coming to God and God’s Kingdom is really like…going home. To family.

In Mark chapter three Jesus’ family is either frustrated with him, or just plain worried about him. They hear that Jesus is drawing crowds again, and they go to restrain him—because people are talking.

Some people think he’s loony. And his family is either embarrassed, or worried of what might become of him.

It doesn’t always end well for such people.

But, Jesus doesn’t seem to mind all that much. After all, he knows how badly it’s all going to turn out.

So what does he do? He opens up the tent and allows everyone who wants to enter the chance to enter. Who is his family? Those who do the will of God. When you do the will of God you get the chance to be his brother, his sister…even his mother!

Jesus’ family is an open family. The door to the family homestead is wide-open.

And while the rest of us may bring dysfunction in the door with us—and at times we can look like a group of misfits…the things we gain are amazing. And the greatest of those things is love.

Come on in. Join the family.

The Author

follower of Jesus, father of two, husband of one, Episcopal priest, with one book down, one blog up...surrounded by empty jars of nutella


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