“Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And Jesus 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, my sister, my mother.” - Mark 3:32-35
For those of us who were here, the day that protestors from Operation Save America stood outside our church one Sunday will forever be etched in our memories. The part of that morning I’ll never forget was speaking to one of the men out on the sidewalk and asked him if we couldn’t at least agree that he and I were Brothers in Christ. He drew a line in the sand for me: “Do you believe that homosexuality is a sin?” I said, “No, I don’t.” He said, “Then we aren’t Brothers.”
It was a sad moment.
Jesus’ idea of family is a broad and challenging one in this passage from Mark; especially to the members of his own family who were standing there when he said it. Can you imagine hearing your child or your sibling asking, right in front of you, who you are? It must have sounded very strange, if not a little painful.
Yet what he’s asking isn’t about him forgetting who his biological family is. For Jesus, it’s all about doing God’s will and obeying God’s commandments. Family has nothing to do with genealogy or genetics or biology. It has absolutely everything to do with how we live according to God’s sacred instruction. Anyone who does that is part of The Family. It need not be an exclusive thing, with conditions, or a kind of “You’re welcome here but not really” spirit. No matter who we are, where we come from, what our history is, if we love God and neighbor and extend the loving grace of God in loving humility, we’re part of The Family.
Even with people from Operation Save America, whether they like it or not!
Loving God, thank you for making part of Your Family. Remind us in new ways who our Brothers and Sisters are and may we love and recognize them as such.