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.’
I have always told my children that part of my job description as a parent is to embarrass them. And no doubt I have fulfilled that role on more than one occasion. It is a role carried out by parents everywhere for generations. Indeed, my mum came down to school to look for me as I was a little late coming home – being in the 6th form at the time, I did not really appreciate her concern!
Mary clearly had concerns about Jesus and the crowds he was attracting and the attention he was getting so wanted him to come home and be a “normal” obedient son. But Jesus had other plans, as his Father’s work took precedent on anything a “normal” son would be expected to do.
While family is important, the role of family is changing all the time. No longer are we two parents, and 2.4 children (I was the 0.4!) but our families are a combination of partners and siblings and half siblings and step-families and often we spend more time with our work families than we do with our blood relatives.
We are joined to our families by blood; genetics; marriage; we have something in common in that we often came from the same source. How much more so are we joined by our faith family in that we all share the love of God and our willingness to serve in whatever way we can. Our family immediately grows and can be found all around the world.
So, whether we are only children or one of many, we all have a vast family of love through our faith in God. They are and will always be our extended family and we will always find a welcome among them.
Lord help me to love my family in whatever form it takes. No longer is there a “normal” family, just the bonds of love joining members together. May we see all those who share our faith as part of our family that we may grow in that love together. Amen
The Rev’d Ruth Watson, Bolton and Salford Missional Partnership Minister