A priest and performer considers religion, the arts, and the often thin space between sacred and secular, church and culture, pulpit and pew.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Waters of Baptism, Thicker Than Blood

In this week's gospel (Mark 3:20-35, RCL), Jesus “redefines” family. And that’s important for the church to understand, because local churches often think of themselves in familial terms without actually making it clear that we are a different kind of family; that lack of clarity is risky. For people wounded by their families of origin, or by divorce or abandonment, the idea of church as family can be very off-putting. For people whose families were havens of comfort and a refuge from the world, the idea of church as family can create expectations that the church was not created to meet. For those reasons I’m very careful how I describe the church, and family is not a word I use often. Christ’s church must always be a place where all are welcome, and where those who commit to following Christ become brothers and sisters regardless of how little else they may have in common. “Blood is thicker than water”, we say. That may be true of ordinary water; but blood is never thicker than the waters of baptism, where we all who desire to follow Christ and do the will of God become part of the household of God. 

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