Looking around at those seated around him in a circle, Jesus said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers.
Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.”
I was adopted when I was a tiny thing and in the church I grew up in we practiced believer baptism so instead of baptizing babies we dedicated or welcomed them into the ‘family’ when the were just born or in my case when we ‘arrived’. When my sister and I came to live with our adoptive parents we were dedicated or welcomed to the family of faith and we sang a hymn called the Family of God. We sang the same hymn on the day that I was baptized at the age of nine, and because my mom was the church musician the same hymn turned up on other important milestone moments as well. It’s a hymn that has come to symbolize what it means to be part of a family of faith for me, so much that wherever I go I have sought ‘family’ to sustain and nurture me as I continue to grow in my own life of faith.
There is one verse of the hymn that has always stuck with me and it goes like this:
You will notice we say “brother and sister” ’round here,
It’s be-cause we’re a family and these are so near;
When one has a heartache, we all share the tears,
And re-joice in each victory in this family so dear.
In these verses from Mark Jesus points us to an important truth: in our commitment to our communities of faith, in the moment of our baptism and at the table when we break bread together we are reorienting ourselves to what it means to be family. We all come from particular families, from particular tribes, cultures and communities but in our lives of faith we claim another kind of family. We claim our place in the family of God and this is what Jesus is pointing us too when he identifies those around him as his mother, brothers and sisters.
Who have been your siblings in your journey of faith? Who has mentored, taught, mothered and fathered you in your faith development? Who has offered to sit vigil with you in times of heartache? Who has celebrated the movement of the Spirit in your life?
May your lives be filled with the family of God,
May you receive the love and support
of a familial bond in your community of faith,
May you be a spiritual friend, a mentor,
a mother or father, a daughter or son to another,
And may this family in Christ sustain and nurture you
alongside your family of origin now and forever.