Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Student Devotions - Wednesday, February 18th

Good morning my students. I hope you are enjoying the milder weather and are looking forward to perhaps our last winter storm of the year. After this we can hope it will be all rain. :-)

Being teenagers it can be a loaded question for me to ask you how you feel about your family. The teenage years can often (but not always) be messed up when it comes to our perception of family and friends. You are learning that there is life outside of the secure cluster of your family. You are discovering people who think like you, who share the same opinions, who have similar interests, who can relate to some of your struggles. It may seem that no one in your family understands you or that they are trying to steal away the new freedoms you are discovering. This can lead to frustration, disappointment and some hurt.

There is probably no sense in me trying to explain to you that this is only a perception; that the reality of the situation is far different. Well, let me encourage you in this, your family may be the only support you have in 10 or 15 years. In most cases many of the friends you have now will have moved on to other things and your only contact will be through things like Facebook. In rare circumstances you may have one friend who remains close for years to come. Yet, you will always have your family not matter where you live in the world. You may not see one of them for 10 years yet when you show up on their doorstep they have an obligation to you because you are family.

There is a saying, "You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family". They were chosen for you. Which makes what we hear from Jesus this morning a bit bizarre. At the end of Mark 3 we read:

Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."

"Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."

Some have read this and thought that Jesus was disrespecting his family. Far from it. When we look at what was recorded before this we see that people had started to follow Jesus. These were known as his disciples, well over 100. He had also selected 12 of these to become his inner circle, those who he would prepare for leadership. After this he was accused of doing things by the enemies power. What Jesus was defining here was that our understanding of our relationship with God and with each other was about to change.

Jesus was establishing a new understanding, that God was not some distant power but was our ever-present Father. Christianity would not be some religious thing but would be a thing of relationship, like a family. What defines a family? Relationship. Not everyone in a family was born into that family, sometimes they are adopted in, offocially or unofficially. It is not some paper or certificate that defines family but instead a relationship of the heart.

We who are believers have an obligation to love and care for each other, not because of a commandment, but instead because of heart relationship. Not everyone can understand this so we end up with people walking away from relationship with each other, not understanding this bond with each other. The bond does not require that the person preform to our expectations. My children seldom perform to my expectations but it does not mean I am going to walk away from them. Neither can we abandon our relationships within the context of the Church.

We have an obligation to each other and it is an obligation that is born in the context of family. Our obligation is to love, help, protect, encourage, support, be with, serve with, live with, tolerate, and stick to one another.

Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.

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