Things Jesus Said. . . and meant (3)

Jesus’ view of family was expansive. He loved his mother and all his extended family, but his views of family went far beyond blood relationships.  The gospel of Mark tells us that “all who do the will of God” were considered to be the mother,  brother and sister of Jesus (Matt. 12:50).

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, slowly losing his life, he saw his mother standing there, along with “the disciple he loved” (possibly John, the one who wrote the gospel with this story). Knowing that he could no longer care for his mother, he asked this disciple to care for her…and for her to take care of the disciple:

40 Lent--Holy Week--Words of Jesus--Woman here is your son (click on image to enlarge)

Over the centuries, Christians have interpreted this in a variety of ways, and that is as it should be. Scripture is full of meaning–many layers of meaning, like a poem.

 So what does this bible passage speak to me today? I’m thinking about how this nearly-final utterance of Jesus crosses boundaries. Jesus could have told Mary to go live with her brother, uncle, or cousin. Instead, he asks Mary to take up residence with his friend, a disciple.

His choice is significant because it breaks with blood relationships–and, I assume, the social/religious customs of his time and place.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, enters into a kind of familial relationship with the disciple. John is to treat Mary as his mother, and Mary is to treat John as her son. Considering their culture, this makes it quite likely that Mary would go to live at John’s home, or that John might go to live with her.

All this reminds me that Jesus invites us to view others outside of our blood relatives, as if they were family members. “Love one another” is not only a slogan for those in one’s family, but rather reaches down the street, through the village, beyond culture and nationality–and, in our time, into the global community.

This is especially relevant in this time of intense polarization in my country. Jesus does not love only Democrats or Republicans; rather Jesus loves them all as members of his family. Jesus does not love only “straight” or only “gay” people–Jesus loves them all, and welcomes all to be his “brother” or “sister.” Christ does not view people outside of the Christian church as enemies, but rather as created by God, loved by God, as children of God.

 This is what I believe: Jesus loved all people while dying on the cross.  Jesus died to bring life to the world… the whole world, and all the people in it.

And Jesus continues, this day and into the future, to love all people.

Until next time, Amen! 

What Jesus says about love and discipleship

Words of Jesus on love/compassion:

37 Lent--Week 5--Compassion--Jesus in John 13 34-35

Most of us have heard this many times, but this message is still fresh, still needed, in our world today.

It’s worth going back and reading again–and creating your own prayer about what Jesus says–right now….

Until next time, Amen! 

Blessed to be a blessing for others

Today’s quote about almsgiving and sharing is from John Calvin, key figure and theologian during the Protestant Reformation days. This quote caught my eye because of today’s political/religious climate.

25 Lent--week 3--almsgiving--Calvin

“Love one another” means being willing to share with others. The Christian way is a spiritual path that seeks to give to others more than to receive from them. It can be difficult to remember this in the midst of media bombardment about the latest recipes for good looks, wealth, and material things.

Will you pray with me?

Come, Holy Spirit,
remind us often
that everything we own–
belongings, money, time, talents–
comes from Creator God…
Inspire us often to share with others,
and give us the courage to let go
of all that we ought to share with others.

Until next time, Amen! 

Prayer of Saint Francis

In our broken and hurting world, the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi reminds me what is really important in life. The words of the prayer have the attitude and mind of Christ, who did not seek fame or glory, but rather sought to love and serve others.

The Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
 
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.
 
There is a beautiful visual mediation of this prayer on YouTube using the music of Christian musician John Michael Talbot (video by heywaldojr). The photos that accompany this 4 minute song make a wonderful prayer meditation, a good break from the work of the day (if commercials appear, just click on the X to get rid of them):
 
If you cannot see the above video, click on the following link or copy and paste the link into your browser:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXyYm1yIL-g  — or google “Prayer of Saint Francis” and “John Michael Talbot”

Hope this video brings a smile to your heart–I know it did mine.

Until next time,

Amen!