“…they could not even eat… …whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness… …’Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.'” – Mark 3:20, 29, 35

I can’t quite imagine such enthusiasm,
people so eager to see you, Jesus,
that they drive me away from my lunch.

Yet there was the crowd surrounding your house.
You were far from the lake, no boat for escape,
just skeptical critics and uncertain neighbors.

And family.

I have to admire the gaslighting lie for
its creativity, if not its morality.
“He casts out the demons by power of demons.”

We’d believe it today, you know, Jesus,
just like we believe all those scurrilous tales
about peace through war, about life through death,

About wisdom through folly, about greed is good,
about white wealth is righteous, about injustice is right,
about male is empowered, female is servant,

And family.

Those were harsh words, you know, Savior.
No forgiveness for those who blaspheme against
the Holy Spirit? No forgiveness at all?

Forgive us if we’re just a little bit lost.
We’re barely acquainted with God’s Holy Spirit,
not enough to prevent this unforgivable sin!

As harsh as it was (and it was) to identify you
with the overlord of evil and captain of lies,
could you not forgive their hubris? Their fear?

Did they leave no room for repentance?
Did they step so far from the acceptable
to lose their place among humanity?

And family?

Have I blasphemed against the Holy Spirit?
Have I denied the power of God, of Spirit, of You,
to expand the circle, to welcome the newcomers?

Have I explained blessings of the world as evils?
Have I declared that what is should be,
though you and I know well that it should not?

Have I accepted boundaries that separate
this person from that person, this people from that people?
Have I pronounced as strangers those you choose

As family?

Forgive me what is unforgivable, which is
to deny the power of divine forgiveness, and
restore me to the blessed community

That you have summoned, symbolized by twelve,
expanding with the centuries imperfectly,
yet still the Church, the Way, the Faith,

The family.

A poem/prayer based on Mark 3:20-35, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year B, Proper 5 (10).

Photo by Eric Anderson.

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