Tonight at cafe we talked about family. We talked about how the words, Mother, Father Sister, Brother, they carry weight. We know they are supposed to be meaningful. The ancient Roman world, the world Jesus was living in, put a large weight on family. Everything was geared around keeping the family together and strong. They did business together, they needed to be loyal to one another to survive and thrive. However, in the book of Mark (chapter 3) Jesus challenges this ancient view of family.
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
When Jesus says this he's probably not trying to criticize his family, but he's challenging people not to let their last name define them, to find a new family in Him. He's saying all can be part of that family. and you get to choose it for yourself. His family is about looking at your past and future and choosing which path you want to take and with whom you would like to take it.
The book of Acts talks about the first church, about how they lived like a big family. The letters we can read to the early church are addressed “To my Brothers and Sisters”, even the ones written to strangers.
Jesus welcomes all, and challenges us that his family is the one who takes action, who puts his words into action, embracing the life the embodies God's will; treating each other as brothers and sisters, responding to their enemies with love, responding to those in need with help, doing whatever it takes to lead to peace, making the world better. A world like God wants. A world that loves, moves, and embraces.
What does that mean for us? Maybe realizing our friendship are families, and they are meant to be about more than just us. They can be about more than fun or gossip. They meant to be about standing together, arms locked. They are meant to be friendships that aren't about shutting people out, but welcoming others into our family. Some of us are lonely, but God wants better. We are loved. We are included. We should strive to share that with the world.