All in the Family

Day 53

Prayer for the day

Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; save your servant whose trust is in you.

Scripture for the day

Numbers 3-4, Mark 3:20-35

The teaching of Jesus on family has to be one of the hardest to swallow, particularly in light of the cult of family that we are seeing across North America. Everywhere (particularly in the church) the family is being extolled as God’s highest and best plan for people. While this sounds lovely, it certainly does exclude those to whom God has extended the call of celibacy, or other non-platonic habitation. It can be extraordinarily difficult for those outside traditional norms to come to grips with the western familial ideal.

This actually connects better with the words of Jesus. Jesus is quite clear, not that he hates his mother or his brothers, but that the kingdom of God, the kingdom he serves and inaugurates, is not a kingdom built on family ties. It is not a kingdom where who you’re related to will get you certain favours or position.

The kingdom is a kingdom where only your father matters. If God is your father, then each person who also claims God as father is your brother or sister. The kingdom definition of family expands beyond dna and bloodlines. It calls us to belong to a family larger than our family, bonded with ties stronger than our blood.

The Israelites got a glimmer of this ideal when God was determining for them who would serve and how, in the tabernacle. The story in Numbers is not simply a story of enumeration, but the story of an evolving, emerging family, broad as the nation itself. Each member of this family was assigned a task by God. Some tasks were more difficult, and some deserving of more honour, but none was earned. Each was appointed by the Father, and each was important and incredibly valuable. In the economy of God and His people, there were only essentials. Each had his/her job to do, and each job fit within that economy exactly to the specifications of the God who designed it.

Our family, the worldwide Family of God, is a family that is less concerned with bloodlines and more concerned with where we fit in the economy of God and His people. You, my brother or sister, are needed. You are vital. You belong. As do I. What a sigh of relief.

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