Mark 3: 20-22
Jesus entered a house [with his disciples]. A crowd gathered again so that it was impossible for him and his followers even to eat.
When his family heard what was happening, they came to take control of him. They were saying, “He’s out of his mind!”
The legal experts came down from Jerusalem. Over and over they charged, “He’s possessed by Beelzebul. He throws out demons with the authority of the ruler of demons.”
This week is ‘spirit week’ at my two youngest boy’s school which includes a theme for each day. We’ve had rock-star day and movie character day and tomorrow is opposite day. Opposite day is a little trickier than the other days. It takes some thought; if we were all participating we might ask ourselves what do I usually do, or what do I consider normal? Then we do the opposite, right? My youngest thought that meant he could skip school (it is the opposite of what he’s suppose to do… very clever, right?)
In today’s scriptures we find Jesus accosted not only by the legal experts from Jerusalem but his own family. That’s crazy right? Jesus comes into the house, maybe his house, maybe someone else’s and is immediately overrun with the crowds begging to be healed or exorcised. He’s been traveling on foot, he’s been teaching and healing the sick and broken and has finally come home maybe with the hopes of resting or at the very least for a meal and instead of being met with a warm welcome he’s met with a family intervention. What? Is it opposite day?
As the readers we’ve been following Jesus since his baptism but imagine being a member of Jesus’ family. Imagine being an expert in your religious tradition. And here comes Jesus returning from a long absence and he’s being mobbed by a crowd and speaking to what seems like demons and even has the power to transform the broken into beings of health and wholeness. What would you think? Jesus is the unexpected, untrained and unimportant man from Nazareth.What? Is it opposite day?
When things take an unexpected turn, when someone we’ve known for years makes an unexpected life decision, when our parents up and move to Florida or our child leaves college midterm to live on a farm in the middle of Nebraska we respond by saying, “that’s crazy!” When something or someone deviates from what we’ve long considered the ‘norm’ do we wonder if they are sick or maybe even possessed? How do people in your life respond when you choose an unusual path or make an unexpected decision? Jesus begins his ministry by shocking John the Baptist with the news that his come to be baptized rather than to do the baptizing and it’s been opposite day ever since. Jesus says you want a ruler? How about a servant? You want to be right? How about you ask forgiveness instead? You want to know God? How about you learn to love one another? Welcome to the crazy, opposite, upside-down Good News story.
May God shock you with the depth and breadth of God’s compassion,
May the deviant, upside-down, transformational message of Christ inspire you to color outside the lines,
May your own people, your own family, tribe, communities or friends love you for your whole self,
and if you are ever lost, rejected or diminished may the power of the Holy Spirit burn brightly with in you and heal your broken heart.