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.’” vss. 34-35Mark 3:28-35
Promoting the nuclear family wasn’t part of Jesus’ platform as his ministry continued in Galilee. In fact, he realized that what he was teaching could actually threaten family unity–at one point he told his followers, “I have come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother–one’s foes will be the members of one’s own household.” In recent years however it has become the fashion in congregations to promote the nuclear family, i.e. couples and their children. One of the by-products of that emphasis has been the estrangement of single people. Many have reported that they feel excluded, that they don’t really fit in among all the “happy” families. A better image, given what Jesus taught, might be to think of the congregation itself as a family. In that instance, members, both married and single, would be brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to one another. And that’s what many of us have experienced in our life in Christ. Our congregation has become our family, and its intimacies surpass what we feel with blood relatives. Each day of worship is like a family reunion and we greet one another with honest affection and love. These are the folks who will be our support and it’s here we will find comfort and strength–even when our nuclear families are falling apart.
Thought for the Day: Where do I experience family?