“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs: the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.” – anonymous
Jesus spoke extensively on many topics, but said frustratingly little on others. Worse yet, there are several topics on which he spoke in direct contradiction to the way that we think he should, leaving us to wonder why our seemingly instinctive sensibilities don’t always line up with what Jesus seems to be saying. We see that clearly in Mark 3:31-35 when Jesus seems to reject his blood relatives, his family of origin. Ask anyone, from lifelong Christians to people who have never stepped foot in a church, to read that passage and they usually have the same reaction: “Wow, that’s pretty harsh.”
The fact of the matter is that it does sound very harsh. Jesus’ rejection of his family is at best confusing, at worst disturbing. Most modern cultures hold the family structure in highest regard when it comes to the fabric of society. What are we to do with his strange behavior?
But many of us are a part of, or come from, a family that doesn’t quite fall within the parameters of what is mostly considered a conventional family structure. I am one of those people. My household consists of my son and me, and has for most of his life. And I, for one, can attest to the power of a family that extends beyond bloodlines and conventional parameters: the family that Jesus gathers around through love and faithfulness. Simply put, the church has walked beside me, as a partner in my journey as a single parent – helping me, supporting me, and sometimes frustrating me to tears.
Join us this Sunday as we think through Jesus’ “harsh” words and what they mean to the millions of us considered to be “unconventional” families.
Rev. Eve Williams
Associate Pastor, PVUMC