Sunday 6 June – 1st Sunday after Trinity
The service is now live-streamed and can be found on the church Facebook page.
God of truth,
help us to keep your law of love
and to walk in ways of wisdom,
that we may find true life
in Jesus Christ your Son.
The man and the woman heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’ The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’
The crowd came together again, so that Jesus and his companions could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’ And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come.
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. Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’ – for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’ Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him.
A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’
Post Communion Prayer
we thank you for nourishing us
with these heavenly gifts:
may our communion strengthen us in faith,
build us up in hope,
and make us grow in love;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Year B – Pentecost 2
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus asked. Then he looked at those who sat around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Picture the scene. Jesus, who has recently come out of his quiet years and started his public ministry, has had yet another crowd gather around him. People crowd around him; press in upon him, pushing their way into the house where he and his disciples have gone. The mass of people is so tightly packed around Jesus and his disciples that they cannot even eat their meal.
But his family has a different view of things. For them, Jesus is not some new phenomenon on the scene–the latest wonder to appear in Israel. Rather, he is their son and their brother, whom they have known for years. But did they really know him? He is too familiar to them. They can’t see him as a charismatic spiritual leader. Instead, they think he has gone off his rocker. So they come to take charge of him, figuring that since he is a member of their family, they are responsible for him.
His mother and brothers don’t go into the house. Instead, they stand outside and send someone in to call him out. And Jesus calmly and pointedly disowns them:
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those who sat around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
In many ways, this was a shocking statement for Jesus to make. Here was Jesus, publicly disowning his family. How could he do such a thing? How could he turn his back on those who had cared for him all his life, who had grown up with him, who had shared all his earlier years with him?
The fact is, it was not Jesus who turned his back on his family, but his family who turned their back on him. Apparently they had not known him all that well after all. They simply couldn’t picture the oldest son and brother in their family as a popular and powerful spiritual leader. And knowing the rigid religious hierarchy of their day, they were probably a bit frightened that Jesus’ fame might bring down persecution on his family–namely, on themselves. So they came, not to hear what he had to say, but to take charge of him and put a stop to all this nonsense.
Jesus knew very well why they were there. He knew that his family did not believe in what he was doing. Yet Jesus was building a new, spiritual family. The members of his new family were gathered close around him–not standing outside, safely at a distance, sending a messenger to make the contact for them. Yet the new family that gathered around Jesus was not related to him by blood, but they were related to him spiritually.
So how do we become part of the spiritual family of Jesus? He tells us very plainly. We become the Lord’s family by doing God’s will. If, like Jesus’ biological family, we turn our backs on the vital work of spreading the Good News and witnessing to Christ and healing that the Lord wishes to do in our lives, then we stand spiritually outside the household where the Lord dwells with his true family. But if we are willing to accept Christ into our lives, then we have moved into the Lord’s house, and have become his mother and sister and brother.
Today, let us keep in mind our spiritual family. We have met Christ in the words of scripture, we’ll meet him in each other in worship this morning and we’ll meet him in bread and wine in Holy Communion.
We are all brothers and sisters of Jesus. And nowhere is that shown to be truer when we “do the will of God” and walk with Jesus as his disciples.