Mark 3:33-35 33And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
What makes a family? Is it the group you are born into or is it the people you gather around you?
I have often thought about the words of Jesus found in Mark about who he saw as family and I am coming to an understanding of what he meant. For me my family stopped being just the people I am related to by birth a very long time ago. I was never close with my sister, half-sisters, or half-brother and haven’t seen any of them in well over 30 years. Growing up I never really knew the relatives of either my father or mother. So when my parents passed away it was the ending, so I thought, of family.
But over the years I discovered something amazing. Family is really more of what I make of it than what I am given. And, with that discovery I realized family means the people and companion animals who share in the life I live.
So some of my family are those who care about things that I care about such as justice, compassion, the environment, mercy, kindness and some are those who stick with me through good times and bad, no matter what. Some of the members of my family have feathers, and some have fur. Some of my family are newly found relatives of my birth family and some are the members of the family I married into. Some of my family are people I care so much about that it often hurts to be separated from them or to see them in pain. All of them, from the recently discovered cousins to members of my faith community, to the children of my husband and their children, and the dogs, birds and other creatures of God who have enriched my life, are my family. Every one of them has shared and is sharing in my life. Every one of those connecting lives is a sacred trust that God tells me to cherish, and nurture so that all live in abundant grace.
Who are your family members? What sacred connections do have and are creating? Offer a prayer for each and every one of them. Their love and friendship is what makes your life vibrant and purposeful. Give them in return your love and friendship.
Ruth Jewell, ©February 17, 2015