Home Service 6/6/21
God of all, as one family we worship you.
We are mothers and fathers, we are sisters and brothers, and we worship you.
We are sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, grannies, granddads, and we worship you.
We are cousins and neighbours, friends and colleagues,
and we worship you.
As your family, as your church, as your community, we worship you. Amen.
Lord Jesus, when our in-crowd is not your crowd
When our words are harsh and our actions unkind
When we judge others rather than join with others
When we are set in our ways and not open to change forgive us and help us to build community. To the glory of your name. Amen.
Be assured that God accepts us with all out foibles, all out doubts and all our sin. We are forgiven. Amen.
Please read Mark 3:20-35 Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law
A few weeks ago, I got an email from somebody who had recently moved into a Fylde coast town. They were on the lookout for a welcoming church and had heard that the local URC fitted that bill. They went to the service and then emailed me to tell me how much they couldn’t attend a church with female preachers! It’s ‘just not the natural way in life; the male father is the leader of the family – not the woman’.
The URC turns out to be a ‘misfit’ church! They didn’t accept my invitation to coffee.
I suppose we all struggle with family at some point or another. And the church is a family.
Recall Jesus’ family. His unique birth must have impacted Joseph and Mary’s feelings about Jesus, and his siblings, if they knew about it. Was there a sense of the family living in Jesus’ shadow? Imagine the story of 10-year old Jesus debating brilliantly with the elders in the Temple being part of your family legend – Hard for siblings.
Then Jesus spent years helping his father as in the family carpenter’s business – Very respectable.
Then this star of the family lost it, got influenced by the oddball John the Baptist, been baptized and left home, saying he had a special calling from God. He had become a travelling vagabond, attracting criticism from the religious authorities and collecting crowds of all sorts. What about the family business, the family reputation? What did he think he was doing? Is anyone in your family like that?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ family try to bring him back home, bring him to his senses. Often, families don’t like us to behave radically differently, but try to make us conform to usual patterns. Jesus rebuffs his family. He isn’t rejecting them but making them realise his family is so much bigger than just his birth family. It includes, on equal terms, anyone who wants to be part of it.
This is hard for his own family who must have felt he should primarily be loyal to them. Perhaps they felt threatened, less important, or didn’t like the disruption? Certainly, they didn’t want to include outsiders who weren’t apparently respectable. Misfits are not welcomed, they need to be hidden away, safely out of sight.
Problem is. Jesus doesn’t conform to that model. We – the misfits – are all invited to become family members. All different – different talents for impressing and repressing; the favourites or black sheep; testing boundaries. Supporting, or debilitating. All are welcome in Jesus’ family. In God’s kingdom there is room for absolutely everyone – misfits and all.
I ask you to think about who you would like to be more fully part of this little bit of the Kingdom. Pray for them. How can you help them over the threshold? And now go and invite them to hear Jesus’ good news. Amen
Mother and Father God, you invite all of us to be part of your family, unique members of your in-crowd. Help us to let you deal with the pains that cause destructive behaviour and destroy communities. Nurture in us your healing that releases in us qualities of love and makes your community attractive, healing, open and welcoming to all. Amen.
Loving God, you sent your Son into your world to gather us all up into your kingdom. Be with us, as we hear and respond to your call to do the same. Amen.
Take my life (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of4l5bTdZ8M)
Intro song: I’m in with the in-crowd (www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF7KU50IY34)
For I’m building a people of power (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtxFK-cmVE8)