Mothers’ Union Devotion Sunday 6th June 2021 the First Sunday after Trinity
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he 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 and sister and mother.’ Mark 3. 31-35
- Blood is thicker than water.
- You can choose your friends but not your family.
Just two of the common expressions about how we see family relationships. We only tend to pick one or the other of these extremes in response to a particular set of circumstances. When someone or something threatens our family or when we feel we have been let down by a family member. Although, like many such pronouncements they are not as clear cut as on first appearance. Harper Lee wrote in To Kill a Mockingbird:
“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”
I wonder how the family of Jesus felt when they tried to speak to him. Concerned, just a few verses earlier Mark recalls how his family had tried to restrain him, because people were saying “he has gone out of his mind”. Frustrated, on account of the large crowd that had gathered, meaning that they were unable to get close to Jesus. After all they were family and surely family should have priority. Hurt by Jesus words, which on the surface appear to suggest that he disowns them.
In reality, what Jesus wants is for his family to be his brothers and sisters and mother, not simply because of a biological connection but because they truly believe in his words. Truly believe, like the crowd who had gathered, in his teaching, his healing, his mission and ultimately that he is the Son of God, the Messiah.
Jesus is turning the saying around. You cannot choose your family, but you can choose to make your family your friends and you can choose to make your friends your family. Everyone who believes in Jesus becomes both family and friend. This is not just a semi humorous phrase poking fun at family relationships this is a serious message. We are called to do the will of God and it is through answering that call that we take our place as sisters and brothers of Jesus, our loving Lord.
May you all feel blessed today with the knowledge of your place as a beloved sister or brother of Jesus.