Family Ties – Mark 3:22 –35

They were at it again.

  • Claiming he was possessed.
  • Insisting the miracles he performed were just cheap sleight of hand.
  • Pulling them apart any way they could.

Of course they did – he threatened them – this itinerant rabbi who seemed to have the whole world following him.  Now, he had pulled together a select group of followers,  those he would train and appoint for some special purpose, and they did not like the sound of that at all.

Who were they?  Those who had carved out a small bit of power and were literally hell-bent on maintaining it for themselves.

He would have none of it.  He said, “How can Satan cast out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.”

Then, he talked about family.  As his own earthly family gathered around, he asked a poignant question: “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  His answer: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Things are not so different today.  Turn on the TV, the computer, the radio, and you will believe that everyone is out to get everyone.  You will begin to believe that the whole world is out to get you and that you better align yourself with some little group that is more powerful than the others.  Tribalism and division seems to be everywhere.

But there is another way.  There is another Way.

It is the way of God.  It is the way of love.  It is the way that says that when we earnestly seek God’s will for our lives, guided by God’s word – guided by God’s Word named Jesus – we can find more in common with each other than we ever knew possible.

It sounds unrealistic, even impossible.  I know – it did in Jesus’ day too.  But I still believe it is possible.

We are not all alike.  We don’t all think the same way or act the same way or look the same way.  That’s how God designed it.  Even so, we can find common ground, common purpose, and a common way forward.

Family ties that cannot be broken by evil, by self-seeking, by power, or wealth, or racism, or anything else the dark forces of this world might try to throw at us.

Come together – seeking God’s will – it is the way of love and it is the way forward.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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