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“Baby, Now We Got Bad Blood”

Pentecost 3B, June 9, 2024

New Covenant, Mark 3:20-35

“Baby, Now We Got Bad Blood”

     The setting for our story this morning is a house in Nazareth. Clearly from the size of the crowd, Jesus’ reputation has preceded him. The crowd is so large that Jesus couldn’t even eat. The legal experts are accusing him of being possessed by the devil. His family thinks that he’s out of his mind. Everyone thinks that he and his followers have lost their marbles, because of the things that he’s saying and doing. They’re trying to make sense of his behavior and the best explanations that they can come up with are, he’s either possessed or he’s gone mad.

     Jesus refutes the claim that he’s possessed, telling them that someone possessed could not also exorcize demons. Someone over taken by an evil spirit can’t overpower an evil spirit. His family tries to intervene and get him to come home with them. When he’s told that his mother and brothers are outside looking for him, his response is to erase bloodlines, saying, “Look around, this is my family. These are my brothers and sisters. This is the family tree of God.”

     Through the first 3 chapters of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus has; exorcized demons and healed the sick, on the Sabbath. He’s touched lepers, forgiven sins and eaten with sinners and tax collectors. Everything he’s doing is different than the way it’s always been done before. His teaching is counter-cultural and disruptive to the status quo. He’s preaching; love your enemies and bless those who curse you, pray for those who persecute you and forgive as you’ve been forgiven, blessed are the peacemakers, the humble, the meek and the merciful, seek to serve rather than be served, take up your cross, lose your life, the first shall be last, this all sounds crazy! And the only explanation his family, friends and the religious authorities can come up with to justify his behavior is, he’s either possessed or he’s insane.

     Now, sitting in the middle of a crowd, Jesus says, “Look around, this is my family. These are my brothers and sisters. This is the family tree of God.” Jesus widens the circle. Jesus erases the bloodlines. He’s growing the family tree of God to be bigger, more spacious, more inclusive and more welcoming than ever before. As Taylor Swift sings, “Baby, now we got bad blood.” The unclean, the outcasts and sinners are included.

     Call me crazy, but if this is what crazy is, then we need more craziness. We need to be crazy enough to love as Jesus loves and forgive as he forgives. We need to be crazy enough to believe that we can end hunger and poverty, crazy enough to believe that we can achieve peace, crazy enough to believe that we can protect God’s creation, crazy enough to believe that we can end oppression and achieve justice for all, crazy enough to believe that we can be one, big, happy family of God, no matter who are mother is, where we’re from, what language we speak, who we love or the color of our skin. Call me crazy, but if what Jesus teaches is crazy, then we need more craziness.

     In one of his very last acts on earth, Jesus still does the absurd. He invites the bandit hanging on the cross next to him, to join him in parading arm-in-arm into paradise. Every time we widen the circle, every time we grow the family tree to be, bigger and more inclusive, we’re in good company. And every time we’re persecuted for it. Every time we’re called, “crazy” or worse names, take it as a compliment, a badge of honor. We’re in good company. Amen.