This Sunday we will be celebrating a baptism. Baptism is the Christian rite of initiation, of being born into the family of God. In some ways, Jesus prioritized this spiritual family over the family we are linked to by blood. He says, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26) And when Jesus' family shows up during his teaching, this is what Jesus says: "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:48-50) Does this mean we can serve God while despising or ignoring our own biological family? No, of course not! But Jesus' stark words provide a counterpoint to the idol we often make of family. Jesus wants us to pledge ourselves fully, through the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, to the family of faith we join, and to expect to sacrifice many things (time, money, convenience) in order to build up the fellowship and declare the Gospel.
Many of our songs this week use family language to convey this image of the Church as family. One such song we'll be singing is Matt Maher's "Sing Over Your Children":