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I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God

by davesandel on July 19th, 2022

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

            (click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance … Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”

Yeah, and then Jesus kind of rebuked his mom and sisters, and I was the one who had to go out and tell them. “The Master is not seeing visitors right now.”

James, taller than anyone else in his family, threw up his arms in disgust. Joseph had passed away and left them, Jesus the Eldest had been seduced by some spirit and left them as well. James was the oldest now. And tallest. And most easily given to anger.

“WHAT!?” James pounded his chest, stamped on the cobblestones, and shouted angrily at the closed door. Then he turned toward me. “Jesus has no right! Jesus’ family must matter to him! We know what’s best for our family, and for Jesus, who is our brother! He is humiliating himself and us.”

There were no more exclamation marks. James wheezed, fell to his knees, and sobbed. And he heard Jesus from within the walls exclaim,

“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Stretching out his hand toward his disciples, Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, sister, and mother.”

I tilted my head and looked at James. I was puzzled by his anger. “Doesn’t that make sense to you, O brother of Jesus?” Because I knew of their shared blood and their mother’s love for both of them. At our campfires when we talked about our families, Jesus often spoke about his. He loved them very much.

But neither the woman nor the son seemed to hear me, so I was about to turn away and head back inside. His mother touched me on the arm. “He knows we have come to visit him, but he uses our presence here to make a preaching point.” She looked as if she were about to collapse in tears.

I looked her as well, puzzled once again. “Haven’t you come to take him home with you?” I asked. “He told us a story once from his childhood, when he was in Jerusalem debating the wisest ones in the temple, and you came to take him away.”

Mary stared into my eyes. I caught her sheepish grin and knew much about her just in that moment. “I had forgotten that,” she told me. “I was so angry with him! I loved him so much and was terrified. Had he been ground under a wagon wheel in the city’s center, and left ignored on the ground to die? My imagination carried me into terrible places.”

James put his arm around his mother. He had missed her small smile. “Don’t cry, beloved Mary. We loved you then and we love you now. I don’t know how to keep up with Jesus either, always surprising us. ‘Don’t you know …’ he says. And, of course we don’t!

“Jesus always knew the verses better than we did, especially the Messiah passages.”

Restore us O God our savior, and abandon your displeasure against us. Will you ever be angry with us, prolonging your anger to all generations? Will you not instead give us life, and shall not your people rejoice in you?

I have to admit I was beginning to fall in love with Jesus’ family. They were teaching me about fidelity, just as I stood here, at first torn between Jesus and his family, but now wanting somehow to bind them together. And then I heard the gate creak, and Jesus’ dusty robe peeked through, and then his face, and he walked out to us. I hadn’t noticed, but he had stopped speaking a few minutes before.

His face was full of light. His smile burst on all of us. “What can I say?” he said to James. “I am so happy to see you all,” he said to his mother. “Thank you for talking to Matthew. He is one of my wonderful helpers, and I love him.”

I burst with embarrassment and pride. Jesus was a brother to every one of us. Forever.

Show us, O Lord, your kindness, and grant us your salvation. Show us your mercy and your love.

(Micah 7, Psalm 85, John 14, Matthew 12)

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