Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jesus' Family

Monday, March 1, 2010 -- Week of 2 Lent, Year Two
Chad, Bishop of Lichfield, 672

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 953)
Psalms 61, 62 (morning)       68:1-20(21-23)24-36 (evening)
Genesis 42:1-17
1 Corinthians 5:1-8 
Mark 3:19b-35

"Who are my mother and my brothers?"  And looking at those who sat around him, Jesus said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

Talk about radical family values.  In a culture where blood and family is everything, Jesus is overturning the fundamentals of society.  Jesus radically reinterprets familial relationships, expanding them far beyond blood, into expansive connections that transcend boundaries of tribe, nation, religion, culture or race. 

There is a parable about two sons, one who speaks obedience to his father and then fails to live up to his word, and the other who scorns his father's identity, but then, in the end, does what the father asks.   Which has exercised true obedience? asks Jesus.  It is the latter, he answers.

"Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."  That is a statement that can transcend cultures, religions, and every other human division that we can devise or imagine.  Whenever anyone acts out of a motivation of love, that person is doing the will of God.  The religion of Jesus recognizes the God that Jesus points us toward, the God who is love.  Jesus taught us the Great Commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul; and love your neighbor as yourself."  And the New Commandment, "Love one another."  To do the will of God is to love.  Whoever acts out of a motivation of love is our brother and sister and mother.  Mountains of divisions can be erased by this shared ethic of love.  To love is to do the will of God. 

Therefore, people who name themselves as Christians but who do not act out of a fundamental motivation of love, are people who are essentially false to the spirit of Jesus.  And people who may see themselves as unreligious or as members of a different religion or spiritual tradition, but who act with an intentional and loving motivation, are Jesus' brothers and sisters and mothers.  They are those who are doing the will of God.

It is not about labels or professions, its all about love.  If you live in love, you are God's child and Christ's brother, sister, mother.  If you live out of some other motivation, you are not kin.  That's that.  It's all about love.



Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Jim Coker said...

Hi, Lowell,
thanks, for your comments on this idea, that people who live in love can consider themselves children of God.
I would like to point out that Jesus' command was to "Love one another, as I have loved you." Which is a higher standard than loving one another. In the church we must be known for loving one another sacrificially, as Christ does us. Of course, the church has a long way to go to live up to that.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thanks, Jim. You are absolutely right. And we have a long way to go.



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