Tag Archives: Mark 3

Family of God

I am away with Family Camp at Camp Wapo near Amery, WI. Nearly a dozen families, many with young children, came to share time together. Even though I made the journey alone, I was immediately swept up into games of hide and seek, yarn introductions and campfire songs. Though threatening thunder storms cut our campfire short, we still enjoyed a crazy camp skit and plenty of snacks.

HeidemannThis morning the families participated in a family devotional scavenger hunt. They followed clues to various hidden scripture boxes scattered around the camp. Each scripture box had a Bible verse they read and a short activity related to it. For example, they read about God creating human being, by breathing into the man the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). The children then blew bubbles as a way to think God’s breath/spirit in their life.

JensensI took advantage of the Bible activity based on Matthew 11:28. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” I took a short nap.

Saturday afternoon families are enjoying the beach, taking pontoon boat rides and playing in the gaga pit. It is a chance for children to play together and adults to have relaxing conversations. The sun even poked its head out from the clouds.

I am reminded of Jesus’ words to his disciples when his family sought him out.

Then Jesus’ mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” Mark 3:31-35.

At family camp and on Sunday morning Resurrection lives out the sense of being family together. We are brothers and sisters one to another when we do the will of God. I came to family camp alone, yet I am surrounded by family.

Thanks be to God.

The Path of Questions

Winter Wonderland Road by Andrew Young

Often our journey with Christ is like this snowy roadway, uncertain and slippery. We seek certainty and God gives us surprises and questions.

This morning in our Men’s Bible Study as we read Mark 2 and 3 together, I was struck by how many questions Jesus asked:

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? Mark 2:9

The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? Mark 2:19

Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill? Mark 3:4

How can Satan cast out Satan? Mark 3:23

Who are my mother and my brothers? Mark 3:33

I realized that several of these questions are rhetorical in nature. Jesus answered them himself in short order. Still he asked questions to push and to prod his listeners to think about their faith, to consider how their faith in God impacted their lives. The questions are something that we as readers of the gospel should take seriously.

As a pastor I am often asked questions by congregants about current theological issues. Such as, “Must someone confess Jesus Christ as Lord in order to go to heaven?” or “Is the Bible literally true when it says _________________?” I sometime like being the expert, the answer man. It seems to gives me a certain status or recognition. However there is a danger if I answer too quickly. I can possibly cut off the conversation one is having with God, wrestling with the question. The “chewing” on the question can push us to deeper trust and faith in God.

Jesus seemed to recognize this, often answering a question with a question. Clearly he was the “expert” who knew the answer, but he sought a deeper trust relationship with the questioner and also with us, the modern reader.  He showed us that his path is not like a superhighway, but  more often a winding path on a winter’s day.

So pay attention to the questions Jesus asked by asking yourself, “What is Jesus trying to teach me?” 

Lord Jesus, help me not to settle for easy answers, but to trust you to guide my wandering journey.

P.S.  Andy Young is my nephew in Seattle and has a great photo slide show on Facebook.