All in the Family

September 10th, 2007 • Category: Encounters with Jesus
by David Zier

Today’s scripture: Matthew 12:46-50 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts (David Zier):

How many times do we hear the term “family values”? It is usually associated with ultra-conservative beliefs, and is typically non-inclusive of GLBT people.

At our Town Hall Meeting for the “Would Jesus Discriminate” campaign, the Moderator of MCC, Nancy Wilson, discussed how traditional families, as we would think of them today, do not really exist in the Bible. Old Testament families included harems and concubines in the household, selling siblings to slavery, and polygamous marriages. Ruth and Naomi made a decision to stick together as family, but when do you hear that example used as a good family values biblical example! New Testament families include the traditional “Cleaver” type household made up of Mary and Joseph — but their first born was not fathered by Mary’s husband. GASP!

As disciples of Christ, one good question to ask is, what did Jesus think about family?

When Jesus is asked about his mother and brothers, Jesus points to his disciples and the crowd, indicating that these are his mother and brothers and sisters! I don’t think Jesus is attacking his biological family, or any other family. But I do think Jesus is telling us that family is not just genetic material or the blood flowing through our veins.

As part of the body of Christ, we are related to each other as we do the will of God, support each other, and take care of each other. After all, Jesus commands us to love one another! Becoming a member of this family is a conscious decision, just like other decisions we make when we pick our immediate families. We make this kind of decision when we select our life partner, choose to have children, select our close circle of friends, or adopt a pet.

We can honor our parents, glory in Aunt Edna’s stories from yesteryear, and get together with our brothers and sisters and reminisce about times gone by, or celebrate the years ahead. But Jesus is telling us that “Family” is so much more than this. When we choose to celebrate and create our families as part of who we are in Christ, we can be a family that shares and cares for one another on a deeper level.

Thought for the day: Who’s in your family?

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: our families — whether biological, chosen, or family-in-Christ. God, show us how to be a positive force in the families we’re part of.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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