Mark 3.20-35 “Your Child is an Honor Student at Beelzebul Elm.” JUMC Mother’s Day 20120514

3.20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan. 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. 28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”– 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” 31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” [NRSV]

My Child is an Honor Student at Beelzebul Elementary School

Everyone wants their child to feel special and important. As crude and offensive as George Carlin, the irreverent comedian was, he was right in one of his routines when he said, “When everyone is special, then no one is special.” {paraphrased}

Mary, the mother of Jesus, hears about how people are ganging up on her son and she and her brood go out to protect Jesus from himself. The want to keep him from saying things that would draw attention, that would at best get the family name in the papers and at worse. Well a mother would not want to even think the worst.

Some of the members of academia, the scribes, were calling Jesus names. Now, no one likes to be called names, but if a teacher starts name-calling about your child, I doubt any mother would sit by. It’s time for parent teacher-conference if ‘they’ are going to start calling my ‘baby’ a child of the devil. “Not just a hellian, but they are calling my Jesus the “Lord of the devil flies”

Never having read William Golding’s, novel, Lord of the Flies, Mary and James come to rescue Jesus from those who were hunting reasons to reject her son.  Mary, with Jesus’ siblings, are ready to take the stranding son-brother home. But Jesus rejects their aid.

Family Ties

The teachers and community leaders are not only calling names, they are charging that Jesus is dividing the faith community. General Conference in Tampa, FL  just a week ago, gave witness to a variety of division among the faithful. Each side charging the other side of being exclusive, thoughtless and even god-less at times. With all the power of hurtful names and naming the deeply held faith experiences and perspectives that differ and divide, it seemed empty to have nice-nice word of encouragement to take home, to justify and counter-balance the battle of the prior days.

Mary and the family want to just go back to the way things were.

The Scribes and Faith leaders want to defeat the challenge and defend the status quo

The voice of Jesus is one that calls for a new understanding of family.

Family is more than genetic, it is a matter of blood.

When someone paves a new path that tramples traditions we can expect dis-agreement, hurt and some distractions. All make room for what is newly laid and freshly built.

Jesus defines the family of faith as those who will follow and accept Christ’s word, and sacrifice, (blood).

Think of the great bonds that can be family

Think of the mighty comfort that can be found in our faith traditions

Think of how unsettling it would be to have to give up family ties, and faith histories to see the new things that God is revealing.

Who is my Mother?

P.D. Eastman’s famous children book, “Are you my mother?” tells the frighting journey of separation and reunion with one’s mother.  The one who know’s us best, because it is from that Mother that we were born.

God is that Mother. No limited by our family tree or our a traditions of comfort and understanding or experience.

So what do we make of this story of Jesus and his family?

Family is vital, but it is to be grounded in God, not just geneologies

Family is powerful, but not just for protection

Family is essential, and it based on our choosing to belong

Who’s family do you choose to follow? Who’s family do you trust? Who’s family leads you in the face of danger, rejection, identity and struggle?

The family of those who follow Christ. Else we are lost in the fear and threat of change, power, and fear.

Choose this day what family is yours!

Beelzebul or Jesus

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