Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday in Proper 3: The family of Jesus

Opening Sentence
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in you sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Commemoration: Joan of Arc
O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgement, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, to ask what you would have us do; that the spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, that in your light we may see light, and in your straight paths may not stumble, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 38

Lessons: Proverbs 17:1-20, 1 Timothy 3, Matthew 12:43-50

The section finishes with the strange but telling little scene between Jesus and his family. Mark, in a similar passage, tells us that they were themselves anxious about his sanity (3.21); the implication certainly seems to be that Jesus regards their presence as a distraction, an interruption. But the point here is not so much a negative one about his physical family, as a strong and positive one about his disciples. They are doing God's will, he declares, by listening to his kingdom-teaching. They are therefore his true family.

For much of this chapter, Jesus has been assailed and attacked by people who regard him and his work as dangerous, subversive and possibly demonic. But there are some people--and here they are, sitting around him!--who are not threatened by this opposition. They are discovering that when they listen to Jesus they are brought into the presence of God, and into knowing and doing his will, in a whole new way.

That, of course, is the challenge for all of us as we study Jesus today. As we listen to what he says, and watch what he does, are we sitting back and criticizing? Are we wanting to interrupt, to say, 'Hold on a minute! Why are you doing it like that?' Or are we learning that by listening in humility, and then acting in obedience, we are brought into a new relationship with the one whom Jesus called 'father'?

N.T. Wright

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name