Mother’s Day is an opportunity to be sentimental while shopping for flowers and candy. It also calls up the following thoughts:
Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12.
The family was the basic unit of ancient Jewish society as reflected in this excerpt from the Ten Commandments. That is why the Prodigal Son acted in a shocking way when he demanded his share of the inheritance while his father was still alive (see the story in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 15, verse 11).
Jesus acted shockingly too, but in a different way. Early in his preaching career, his mother and brothers heard people saying that he had lost his mind (wandering around instead of staying at home in the carpenter’s shop), so they came to see him. When he was told that they were asking for him, Jesus said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those hearing his words, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus was not lowering the status of his family, he was raising the status of those he was calling to a new life of intimacy with God. He was establishing a new family whose members were united around himself with ties even stronger than family loyalty. His family understood this and became active members in the church that Jesus left behind.
In other words, the family is great, but something greater is here. What is this promised life that goes beyond family? Here is how it was described in 1678 by John Bunyan in his Pilgrim’s Progress:
There is an endless Kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting Life to be given us, that we may inhabit that Kingdom for ever. There are Crowns of glory to be given us, and Garments that will make us shine like the Sun in the firmament of Heaven. There shall be no more crying, nor sorrow, for He that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes. There we shall be with Seraphims and Cherubims, creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. There also you shall meet with thousands and ten thousands that have gone before us to that place. None of them are hurtful, but loving and holy, every one walking in the sight of God and standing in his presence with acceptance for ever.
How do we get to this place? We must be sorry for the sins that have separated us from God. We must turn around and trust in Jesus to save us and give us access to that new life. That is what we are trying to do at St. Barnabas. You are welcome to join us. The promises are for every one of us.