I’m tempted to say that every Sunday at Mosaic is different, and while I believe that to be true, this past Sunday was especially different, if there is such a thing. On Sunday we celebrated the youngest member of our community, a 3-month old baby. More specifically, we celebrated what the baby being welcomed by our community.
As always we begin with people, for nothing can be shared without people. There were more than usual, for a number of family members where there, some from as far as Michigan. And whenever there is a lot of family in the same place, there is also a lot of embracing and chattering and murmuring. There is an excitement and energy in just being together.
One of the things that I appreciate about the Mosaic community and which I believe to be totally consistent with the words of Jesus, is how it softly challenges the traditional notions and structures of ‘family’. Who is considered family and why? Should the benefits, privileges and protections of family be available only to the fortunate, who by chance find themselves part of a prestigious club which has somehow survived? What if ‘family’ is less of a noun and more an adjective? The suggestion that your family might extend beyond your bloodline is a challenging one, but it is also a necessary one, and it is lived out in messy and unpredictable ways at Mosaic. On Sunday I got to watch as a large, ‘traditional’ family was slowly welcomed and subsumed into a smaller community, so that by the end of the evening, the lines between the two were just a little more blurred then at the beginning. The idea of family is slowly being reimagined.
It is of course this new family, this new mosaic, that the baby is being ushered into and is now a part.
There was good food and music too. Welcoming involves a party and a shared experience. But it also involves a blessing. It is a blessing which is borne out with our hearts, minds and bodies as we surround the child with his parents, and where possible, lay hands on them. For me this is a sacred moment. The blessing is pronounced orally, but it is by our physical movement towards the family that we commit to it. Blessings must always involve hands and feet as well as words. It's a beautiful thing to see a family physically surround a couple with their child while a blessing is pronounced. As one family we declare, “if we can do nothing else, we will be here next week to surround you again if necessary”.
One of the passages we looked at on Sunday was from 1 Corinthians 7. It ends with the line “For the present form of this world is passing away” (v31). The other is from the gospel of Mark, and tells the story of Jesus walking up to some fishermen and asking them to leave their family and follow him. The crazy part is, they do.
What does it truly mean to be told that the exhausting and predictable structures of the world are passing away? What does it mean to live as though that were true? On Sunday we welcomed a child into our community. In doing so we took a step towards welcoming and embracing this new form of the world, where ‘family’ is redefined and reimagined so that none are without, and all are surrounded. Where Jesus calls us to leave our traditional family and form a new one.