"Out of His Mind; and right beside you" / Mark 3:20-35; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 4 and 5 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday, June 6th 2021 / 2nd Sunday after Pentecost
Text: Mark 3:20-35; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 4
Theme: “Out of His Mind and beside You”
Intr - “Italian artist Salvatore Garau recently auctioned an invisible sculpture for 15,000 euros ($18,300). The sculpture's initial price was set between 6,000 and 9,000 euros; however, the price was raised after several bids were placed. Titled 'Io Sono' (Italian for "I am"), the 67-year-old artist's sculpture is "immaterial," meaning that the sculpture does not actually exist.
Though he's received much critique for the sale, Garau argues that his work of art isn't "nothing," but is instead a "vacuum." "When I decide to 'exhibit' an immaterial sculpture in a given space, that space will concentrate a certain amount and density of thoughts at a precise point, creating a sculpture that, from my title, will only take the most varied forms," Garau said of his sculptures, according to as.com. "After all, don't we shape a God we've never seen?"
Would you say this person is out if his mind? Or perhaps the people who bought it?... I don’t know.
But in the Gospel today we see someone being considered to be “out of His mind”. Jesus Himself. That was done not by open enemies, but by his own family. They come around to seize Him; and the reason? “He is out of his mind.” Another possible translation for the Greek verb used here is: “He is beside Himself.”
Was Jesus really out of His mind? Or was it Jesus’ family out of their minds?
What was the reason they described Jesus that way? One of them was because He was not meeting the expectations of His family. Another reason could be He was going too far from what his family would expect Him to be. Also, we could infer they were feeling ashamed that a member of their family was behaving like that, as if he was the Messiah promised to their people.
In all cases, what needs to be clear here is that labeling Jesus “out of His mind” is a projection of their expectations on Jesus, rather than an expression of the Truth.
As the Church, the body of Christ, we may sometimes receive that same label too. There are many things we teach, confess and do that are not within the expectations of the world. Or even sometimes within the expectations of our own family of faith. Perhaps some may come to depart from our fellowship if they think the Church is out of her mind according to the standards they hold.
Again, we need to be sure that this is a projection of expectations rather than an expression of Truth.
The readings for today offer some good examples on how our out-of-mindedness could be perceived world from outside:
_The Sin against the Holy Spirit. What we teach from the Bible makes it become clear that not everybody is good and is going to a better place after death. When death happens for an unbelieving heart, someone who has denied the forgiveness of sins, condemnation is what follows. A recent poll done in North America showed that 43% of millennials “don’t know, don’t believe or don’t care if God exists.” Now, it doesn’t matter if it is the millennials, the Xs or Zs, or any other generation past or to come. Absence of faith in God’s forgiveness in Christ means one goes to a worse place after he/she dies.
_Jesus family. “Everyone is a child of God”. The Church would be out of her mind by denying this statement, right? However Jesus himself does this. “Whoever does the will of God is my family.” We can only do God’s will through faith in Him. So faith in Christ is what identifies the members of Christ’s family.
_Psalm 130. It presents us an anxious and even semi-depressed writer crying out of a dark pit. He is down, not in his best days. Still, he doesn’t look inside to find answers. He doesn’t rely in human help, but He cries out to the Lord; he looks above because he knows that the Lord shines His light even in the deepest, darker pit. Would he be out of his mind? For there are better solutions at hand than trusting a fairy tale told by churches that there is a superior being that watches and cares for you. Just look around and see how many tragedies and disasters there are in this world, etc…
In the epistle, 2 Corinthians 4, we see Paul in a sort of a dark pit too. Or at least not having the best of his days. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”
We tend to hold on to the positive angle, that even with the difficulties they continue on in faith in Christ. That is true, but the verbs here are strong and cannot be overlooked: Afflicted, perplexed, persecuted; struck down. That was hard on him; this would be hard on any of us. Then, he is not saying this because of material problems due to money, family issues, personal struggles or government bills. The reason was spiritual - His faith and proclamation of the Gospel. Persecution was coming down unhinged upon him, and many Christians, due to their strong stand on their Faith. He was suffering primarily not for doing something bad, but for proclaiming a good, life giving message.
What would he, or anyone, subject himself to all of this suffering? Expectations of a culture where “you were born to be happy” and the goal is avoiding suffering at all costs could consider Paul to be beside himself for sure.
Out of our mind. Beside ourselves. This is how the world sees us in many situations. This is how we perhaps we feel when trapped in the dark pit of sadness and problems.
Remember: Jesus is there with you. He is not beside himself, he is beside you. He is not out of His mind but inside your heart.
Paul says “we do not lose heart”. How can he say something like that in the midst of all those difficulties?
_“We do not proclaim ourselves.” They weren’t relying on themselves, but in Christ only. Likewise, we shouldn’t rely on ourselves. We shouldn’t be the ones beside ourselves - at our own side - trying self-motivation to find answers. In Christ we won’t lose heart, because in Him our hearts are steadfastly protected under His wings of love.
_Christ The Promised (Genesis 3) – The “out of His Mind” Father who sends His Only begotten Son to die as an innocent for a guilty World.
_Christ Our Brother (Mark 3)
_Christ, the Lord and Saviour.
We draw only from Him the courage and strength we need to stand up in our faith. What we have doesn’t depend on ourselves, on our capacity, on our good will. What we have won’t detach from us in the darkest hour, in the scariest moment, in the lowest time. It is a treasure. God’s treasure is in us, jars of clay that we are. It is a great and precious treasure.
And by the way, Garau was wrong when he said, "After all, don't we shape a God we've never seen?" We have seen God’s shape, in the form of the Son. Jesus is the face of God among us. Emmanuel.
For sure, this is something out of this World, out of our human way of looking at things. But again, we don’t rely on the projection of expectations, but in the expression of truth that we find in Christ. In difficult times, we can hear His voice in the Word. “I’m with you in your mind, your soul, your heart. I will carry you.” He reminds us that in our Baptismal faith we were grafted into the vine, into Christ’s family, as He himself says in the Gospel today.
Also, as Paul points out, our suffering is momentary, but our joy will be forever. That’s what Jesus endured for us. He suffered unto death to save us from sin, to grant us forgiveness, and to graft us into a life of joy that will never end.
This is our life under the cross. The darkest hours and the sufferings of the present time pale before the eternal Light and blessings. The out-of-mindedness that we go through because of the Gospel will bring us to eternal and mind-blowing experience in Heaven.
All because Jesus did the “out-of-His-mind” act of going to that Cross. All because He brings us out-of-this-World forgiveness and salvation. He keeps us grounded in Him, secured that his light reaches us in the greyest places and in the darkest hours even if we are experiencing mental health issues. We are sustained by The Holy Spirit through the means He extended to us. Sometimes this comfort would be something out of our mind’s capacity to understand. But it will be always inside our heart’s ability to hold on to Jesus through faith with all our heart, soul and mind.
Cc – Remember: Jesus is never beside Himself. He is always beside you. Trust him, Believe His Word, do the Will of God in your life. This is not an invisible work out of a questionable human mind. This is the visible and sure work and promise for you out of God’s Heart.