"It doesn’t matter what story you are telling. You are always telling the story of family."
— Erica Lorainne Scheidt
"Crazy runs in my family. It practically gallops."
— Cary Grant
The truth of every family lies below the surface. The still waters we present to the rest of the world rarely tell the whole story, whether that’s the stress of competing commitments or the pain of emotional discord or the shame of secret failure. Just like the ocean, below this apparently calm surface, a great deal is happening. And most of us expend great energy so that no one discovers these deeper, darker currents exist.
This is because family is The Great Mirror, the most powerful vehicle through which human identity can be formed or displayed. More than anything else, family is where we project the image of the kind of person we want others to believe us to be. This is why our families are often sources of shame. If something goes wrong with our family then people will know there is something wrong with us.
When we experience this shame, most of us respond in one of two ways; we either hide or we get to work. Another way of saying this is that we pretend or we perform.
We become pretenders when we never let anyone else stick their toes into the deep waters of our soul. We become performers when we seek the ideal spouse for our ideal marriage to buy our ideal house in the ideal neighborhood with the ideal schools where we will one day raise the ideal children that will finally bring meaning and significance to our lives. Whether we are pretenders or performers, whether single or married, whether retired or raising small children, we all have a family problem.
The question Jesus asks us this week cuts down to the bone and marrow of the family problem. “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” In just a few words, Jesus exposes that which we thought was hidden, and deconstructs our efforts to create family “in our image and likeness.”
As we examine Matthew12:46-50 together, we will find that there are no simple answers to the family problem. There is no 7-step program to the perfect Christian family. In fact, we will discover that God’s future for the family is not a program but a person, Jesus Christ himself. And it is through Him, and in Him, that an entirely new was of being family has broken into the world.
As you prepare for worship this week, ask yourself: What are the deeper, darker currents of my family story that no one else can see? What false or idealized image of myself do I want other to believe about me when they see my family? Do I default to pretending or performing as a response to the family problem?
Our weekly worship guide can downloaded here.
46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”