Sunday, April 15, 2012

Family Deserves an Extravagant Welcome

Mark 3

[3.31-35] Just then his mother and brothers showed up. Standing outside, they relayed a message that they wanted a word with him. He surrounded by the crowd when he was given the message, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside looking for you.”  Jesus responded, “Who do you think are my mother and brothers?” Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, “Right here, right in front of you—my mother and my brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Lord Jesus--The definition of family is front and center in our culture right now.  I have always had an expanded view of what family means.  From foster children to adoption to birth children, it is all important and it is all family.  I think of the group that I worship with...and think of the word  is a close knit group.  I know about the changing definition of family, first hand.

This is a time that  is looking for the extended family connections exactly when the nuclear family is having trouble staying together.  We long for connection that is enduring yet struggle with paying the price.

Lord Jesus--Family is something that we are increasing uncomfortable with in a culture that is increasingly more inclusive with that word than your followers are comfortable with.  But here, you focus me on the boundaries of family and you begin to redefine the edges of who is family for you. Family is about following the will of the isn't about genetics.  It is about obedience.  Inclusion is not something that is closed to anyone who wants in.  The family of God can stretch to include all who choose to follow.

I have a good friend who mentions these two words often:  "Extravagant Welcome." That is how family treats each other warmly, openly, without a desire to control by guilt or manipulation.   I may differ at times with my good friends on the limits of extravagant welcome, but he is exactly right...that is how we treat family. Too often the community of believers have defined themselves by prohibition and not by a clear demonstration of your love lived out over a life time.

Help me to live out these simple words with clarity and hope in a culture too concerned with things that really don't matter.

Mark 12:30

29-31Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these."

Lord Jesus--Then this picture that I took at Albany airport might include family and I didn't even know begins to make me wonder, think and pray differently. Who in this crowd is a part the family and I will never know it until heaven?  Who is struggling right now and needs a touch of the Father?  Let this simple insight inform my prayers, Lord Jesus.  Family deserves an extravagant welcome where ever I find them.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (p. 1796). NavPress. Kindle Edition.

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