“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
~2 Corinthians 5:1
The Episcopal priest Stephanie Spellers says “Institutions and cultures are durable partly because they obey the law of inertia. Even if you think you’ve exerted a strong external push and knocked a moving object or an entire institution off its set course, wait. Just wait. With barely a nudge, the object will drift right back to its original path.”
There is value, of course in institutional stability. Their predictability provides shelter and nurture and a moderating influence that keeps us steady in tumultuous times. The downside, of course, is they delay needed change, repress diverse life-giving creativity, perpetuate inequity, and exclude.
It should be no surprise that Jesus would seek to turn upside down his own religious tradition given the disruptive and chaotic scene Mark has for us in today’s gospel text. Indeed, while the institution of family continues to be one of humanity’s greatest blessings, we can see along with him the tendencies for exclusion that persist. Who are my mother and my brothers? Who is counted among our true family? What is this durable shelter we have from God, eternal in the heavens?
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