Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Journey With Matthew - Day 18

Read Matthew 12:46-13:23

Jesus here makes the claim that water is thicker than blood. Well, not exactly, but that's not a crazy hermeneutical leap. He says that blood ties - familial relationships - do not trump the the baptismal community that is living into the commitments and promises of discipleship.  

This is a radical claim. It is counter to the society in which he lived, and counter to the claims of our own context where the religious right preaches "family values" that draw lines around who is in and who is out. It is a claim that challenges the claims of small, tight-knit congregations that say, "we're just like a family." The "family" that Jesus desires are those who continue in the apostles' teaching and break the bread and share the good news (with and without words) with others and who do justice and love mercy and who "respect the dignity of every human being." No exceptions.

The family into which we have been claimed means we belong to each other. This shapes our politics. Those who think a casino would be entertaining as long as it's in Springfield but "not in my back yard" need to be careful here. If I don't want to fund public education because our kids are going to private schools,or it's too bad if our foreign policy hurts Latin Americans or Palestinians - well, that's just the way it is. We take care of us.

Our tendency is to make decisions, especially political decisions, based on self-interest: on what is good for me, and mine. Jesus breaks down those markers of the old order that say blood is thicker than water, and points us to new relationships created by water and the Spirit. Our love is not limited to other Christians - but it begins there and our "family" is not just the people who look like us in our own congregation. To grasp the meaning of these verses we need a bigger vision, and we need to share one another's burdens.

Pray for our sisters and brothers in Iraq.

No comments:

Post a Comment