Hometown Prophet, July 5.2012

Mark 6:1-6 
 Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.
On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What is this wisdom that has been given to him?
What deeds of power are being done by his hands!
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon,
and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor,
except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”
And he could do no deed of power there,
except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.
And he was amazed at their unbelief.
For those who have never moved far from the homes in which we grew up we know the particular challenge in living into our growing and changing selves in the midst of a familiar and seemingly unchanging setting. Maybe we still worship with the same communities in which we were baptized, maybe we live in the very same home we were raised in and are now caring for aging parents, siblings or our own grandchildren. The familiarity and familial bonds that hold us can both strengthen and impede us.For others who have traveled far from the homes in which we were raised we return home for visits, for holidays, for milestone moments and discover a strange tension between what is most familiar and yet different than we remembered. We are often surprised by how much our mother, father, sister or brother has changed. We feel out of place in habits and patterns that have grown up and reconfigured around our absence.

As we move along in our lives, like Jesus, we struggle to find our place and realize that to be known and to continue to know by our families and the communities from which we come will take intention and self-awareness and revelation. What does it mean that Jesus’ family and close-knit community could not recognize him for who he is, for who he was becoming? And Jesus too, was astounded by their ability to influence his power.

How can we hold what we know—the history, the heart, the story of the life—of those we love in tension with the space to allow them to continue to grow? The space to tell their own story, in their own words. The space to change their mind and to change direction; the room to become the person God is calling out to them to become? When we are surprised by their power can we celebrate rather than be filled with disbelief?

This is text about family, about familiarity and about surprise. It raises the question of who knows us best. Who knows our history and how does it play a role in our current and future identity? How do we use the history we share or have on one another to either hold them back or encourage them to take flight?

May you wrestle with and be stretched and
come to know the fullness to which God calls you,
May you have the humility, vulnerability and the imagination
to share your full self with the families and communities that claim you as one of their own,
May you be part of a family and community whether newly found
or old and familiar that accepts you for your whole and growing self,
And may you provide such as space for another, for a sister, a brother,
a child or grandparent or a stranger who will become a familiar friend at your welcome.


Musical Meditation
Michael Buble and Blake Shelton