Wednesday Words – Family of God

June 2, 2021

Pr. Paul Cannon

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.”

- Mark 3:35

Family is a funny thing isn’t it? 

Kirstin and I just came back with the kids from an impromptu trip to Minnesota.  Britany, Kirstin’s best friend from high school, recently lost her step-father, Orlin, to COVID. We wanted to be there for the funeral. 

I almost hesitated writing the word “step” in front of the word “step-father” though, because in truth, Orlin was a father to Britany in all the ways that count.  That was so much the case, that even Kirstin would refer to Orlin as a “second-dad” from time to time.  Blood and biology aside, Orlin was Britany’s dad.

Reflecting on this, I realized that Kirstin’s brother Jake plays the exact same role to his son Morgan, who he adopted and raised as his son.  And my mother-in-law Pam had the same relationship with her step-father. Her biological father died at a young age, but like Britany and Morgan, her father raised her as his own daughter.

All this is to say, that it’s been on my mind this week that family is much more than blood and biology. Family can also be by choice and action. And when it comes to God’s family, we call ourselves children not by blood, but by choice.

The Gospel this week talks about family in the same way.  “Who is my mother and brothers?” Jesus asks?  The answer is simple, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” 

When it comes to God’s family, we all find ourselves brothers and sisters not by blood and biology, but by choice and action.  It’s true on a church-wide level (I can’t say how many of you refer to Bethany as your “church family”), and it’s true of your relationship with God as well. 

The choice of course belongs to God and to us.  God chooses us in baptism first, but of course we too choose to participate in God’s family by doing God’s will. Working together to bring God’s kingdom to earth (preaching the Gospel, bringing good news to the poor, etc), is how we choose to participate in that family. 

That is what makes us brothers and sisters – children of God.