The most important phrase in this passage isn’t actually part of it. Just before Mark writes, “and the crowd came together again so that they could not even eat.” he writes, “Then he went home.”
It’s at the same time typical of mark, to be so brief, but also very interesting that he chooses even to mention this. “Then he went home..” and all kinds of things kicked off.
Picture the scene. Jesus returns home and remains outside his house screaming at, well, the world, I guess...
— He is out of his mind! say the people.
— He is possessed! say the scribes.
Then Jesus launches into a tirade about Satan, about how Jesus is standing outside so people cannot plunder, and about blasphemy. Jesus is very deeply perplexed, that’s for sure. He even seems to denounce his own family, saying, “Who are my mother and brothers?!”
Imagine how his mum and brothers might have felt. Their big brother was getting very agitated. He was back home and instead of having a good chat with his family, he starts accusing people of being divided, of houses standing against houses, of what seems to be a very turbulent time about to come. Speaking of his mother as he appears to seems especially sour. Where is this Gentle Jesus, meek and mild? How come he’s apparently “out of his mind”? Well, he isn’t. Not in the slightest. He knows exactly what he’s saying: everyone is part of the family: Here are my mother and Brothers, those who do the will of God!
OK then, angry Jesus, what is this will of God, and why does it matter that we hear your angry outburst outside your own home?
We often talk about how family relations can be uplifting or destructive: it all depends. It is important to keep this in mind when we hear this passage of Jesus getting extremely agitated about the world outside his own home.
He goes home, but doesn't enter it.
He remains outside and lets rip.
His Mum is worried for him as any mother might be.
His brothers can’t grasp what he’s saying, with all this will of God stuff.
But this passage has to happen at home because “at home” is where we can begin to discern the will of God, where we feel both rooted and sent out. Of course his Mother is his Mother. Of course his brothers are his brothers.
But it goes way further than that and we can go way further as well. When we notice people doing the will of God, of course we are close to them. As we might be in a family. When we walk with people who love and care for all people, how can we not be drawn to them as a family is drawn together. Jesus is speaking of spiritual families not biological families. He is agitated because of that very reluctance we can have to hide away with our families and think nobody else can be like us. He is saying, notice we are all one family!
When we do the will of God, we step out into the world and discover others just like us.
When we do then we can put away our anger, we can look into the faces of our fellows and find brothers and sisters, loving all. When we acknowledge Jesus in this way we can truly be joined as a universal family.
Please start giving some thought to your favourites. The Sunday worship at Stoke St Gregory on 18th July will be a combined “Songs of Praise” with the Baptist church. It will be outdoors and so we will be able to sing openly and without masks… O Joy! There will be a suggestion form in church in Lyng on 13th June and subsequently in Stoke St Gregory.
We are gathering tomorrow (13th June) for our monthly united benefice Eucharist. This month it is at St Bartholomew's, Lyng. Parking is available in the "Old Pub Carpark": thank you!
It is not fully formed, and there are some odd gaps but as of this week (10th June 2021) it is going live. Please be patient as we continue to develop it and add many more features. Thanks!