All in the Family

Day 18

Prayer for the day

Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.

Scripture for the day

Genesis 43-45, Matthew 12:24-50

The strength of family ties is a hard thing to overestimate. Hardship, difficulty, squabbling, anger, and bitterness can sour the ties, but they often snap right back into place! So it is with Joseph and his brothers. Separated by wickedness, by distance, by time, and by will, they are thrown back together, seemingly randomly, and finally, Joseph’s identity is made known. His brothers, initially afraid, are embraced and Joseph and his family are reunited. Things are as they were meant to be: brother forgives brother, and all is made well.

Jesus has a family as well. His mother and brothers (no mention of Joseph, the father) show up wanting to speak with Jesus. For some people, reading this passage gets under their skin, as it seems that Jesus has little regard for his biological family any longer. His response seems almost rude to us, particularly in North American Christianity, where we (with our mouths) declare the importance, the centrality of the family to the faith.

What is noteworthy about the account of Jesus is not his rejection of his own family, however, but the radical re-definition of family in the face of the Kingdom of God. Jesus declares that the previous markers of family identity (name, blood, dna, etc) no longer hold as much weight with the advent of the Kingdom. From now on, says Jesus, your family is expanded. Your family is enormous. Your family consists not of people who share your blood, but of people who share your Father.

While this may sound harsh, it is a huge part of the Good News of Jesus. As we join in the work of the Kingdom of God, as we acknowledge the Fatherhood of God in our lives, we are joined to everyone else on the globe and through history who has made the same declaration. We join a vast array of witnesses, living and dead, who boldly proclaim that the ties of family, while good, do not hold a candle to the ties of son and daughter-hood we have as the Family of God.

The Kingdom is the place where those with good families, those with bad families, and those with no families, join together under on Father, in one love, for one purpose. And it’s amazing.


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