Occasionally, we will reprint prior devotions that now reflect on the coming lectionary texts. This is a reprint from a devotion originally published on February 20, 2013.
Prayer: Lord, help us to feel closer to our siblings and to feel the love of other brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.
Reading: Mark 3:20-35 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
I will have to recall this story from what I've been told. I was a little too young to remember it. When I was almost three-years-old, my mother went to the hospital to deliver my parent's second child. I don't remember if I was excited or not. I'm sure my parents explained what it would mean to be a big brother, but I can't remember what I was feeling.
My mom told me that I did say to her that if she had the baby and it was a girl, she didn't have to bring it home! I wanted a brother! She only was to bring the baby home if it was a boy.
Well, my parents didn't listen to me because it was a girl and I had a baby sister. It was to be the last of my parent's children, so I never got my wish to have a brother. Don't get me wrong-- I love my sister and despite our fighting growing up, we had good times and have grown closer over the years, especially in our adult lives. But there is still an inkling in my mind that I missed out on something because I didn't have a male sibling.
I don't know why I always wanted a brother. I guess it could be because I believe there is a special bond between brothers. Or, maybe I just wanted someone who I could harass grouping up and "teach him the ropes." I think I got to do those things with my sister, but I don't think it was the same as doing them with a brother.
I have been fortunate though. I have a couple of friends that have been like brothers to me, like it says in Romans 12:10. In my Revised Standard translation it reads, “Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” Those words stood out to me as I read this passage. One of my friends one said that I was like the older brother he never had; I felt like he was the younger brother I never had. Another friend once told me the same thing, and I felt special because he had brothers of his own. So maybe I did get my brother!
Jesus says in the passage from Mark that whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister, and mother. I think you can go a step further and say that anyone who shares the belief of Jesus Christ is a brother or sister. So, I guess we all have many brothers, and many more sisters for that matter. It is in that same spirit that Paul tells us also to let our love be genuine, be guided by the Spirit and serve God. What great words to live by! If we all treated each other with respect and honor as we should our own biological families, I believe the world would be a better (and more fun) place! (There are still days, though, that I feel it would have been nice if mom came home from the hospital with a baby brother!) --Chad Hershberger, Camp Mount Luther Director
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