Mark 3:31-35 (NRSV)
Verse 31Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. Verse 32A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you." Verse 33And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" Verse 34And looking at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Verse 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."
After stepping into the pulpit, I usually began by asking those gathered to join me in prayer. Then I would say, “My brothers and sisters in Christ, grace, peace, and love be upon you from our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.” Today’s reading from Mark allowed me to dare to use these words.
Jesus offers a definition of “family” that is not about DNA, but about shared values, beliefs, or principles we have in life. It is about having a mission that is in line with God’s will for the world. Of course, doing the will of God takes many forms. We are not called into uniformity, but into unanimity by doing God’s will. Yes, I can be closer to some of my faith family, but still honor those who do a different walk according to their call. We acknowledge the unique gifts and strengths of our family and celebrate all parts of the body. In Christ we can welcome home and welcome to worship all our brothers and sisters and together celebrate God’s mission of love and mercy.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Thank you, Lord, that I am surrounded by brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers of the faith, who are along with me walking by the power of the Holy Spirit. Give me the joy of fellowshipping with them in your family. Amen.