Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’
(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
This incident in Mark's Gospel comes straight after Jesus has been attacked by the Scribes as being in league with the devil, and suddenly, someone reports that his family are outside and want to speak to him. Jesus is still in teaching mode and uses the fact to make a point, that one's closest people are not necessarily one's family. Indeed today our family members may not necessarily be Christians and may not understand our beliefs and actions. If our family are Christians then we are indeed fortunate.
Looking back over my life I have been lucky that my greatest supporter was my husband, but he often had to take second place to my work. Two such incidents come to mind: I was organising the final rehearsal of an enormous nativity play in the RAF church in Marhan when a message came that my husband had burnt himself. I carried on with the rehearsal! A couple of hours later I discovered him lying in sick bay with blisters from his neck to his waist - the pressure cooker had exploded! Adrian could have expected my immediate attendance, but like me he put the work of the Church first and down-played the accident.
On a lighter note, one day I left our vicarage in Suffolk early one Saturday morning to give a talk to the Diocesan Synod, just after I had discovered a mother duck and her numerous ducklings in our huge garden. Since the garden was fenced and the ducklings were too small to fly, I had no idea how they got in, or how they would get out. They appeared to be trying to get to a small pond further down the estuary. I never did find out how he managed to allow the ducks to escape! There were hundreds of other such examples of times that Adrian had my back and supported the work of the Church.
The point is that our true "family" should ideally be with those whom we share our greatest treasure - that is the love of the Lord Jesus and our desire to share that with others and bring them into the Kingdom of God.
Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank You for those we love,
and who love us.
Especially we thank You for those
who are closest to us
because of their faith in You
and in Your promises.
May we continue to pray
for family members who do not
share our beliefs,
in the hope they may turn to You.