Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How to cope with your mother-in-law

The reading for today's communion service was Mark 1 29-34, and I got to thinking about what is making Simon's mother-in-law unwell. I have a suspicion it was what happened a few paragraphs earlier - Jesus comes out of the wilderness and calls Simon to follow him - and Lo! - Simon does just that.

Now if you're a good mother, and you see your son-in-law go off following some no-good preacher what's your first thought going to be? Who's going to look after my daughter and the family!? And in a situation where you have absolutely no separate power of your own, your world faces imminent collapse, and so you withdraw into yourself, you confine yourself to bed with a fever.

Which, of course, just makes things worse. Not only are you as a woman rather dodgy and untouchable, but now you are ill and you have all the social ostracism associated with uncleanliness to cope with. So nobody's going to come near you and your stuck stewing in unpleasant juices.

What is a good son-in-law to do? There is only one thing to do: bring Jesus into the conversation. Miracle of miracles - Jesus touches the mother-in-law - hey he's not such a no-good preacher after all - would you like a cup of tea my dear?

That's the solution to family problems. Bring Jesus into the conversation.

And pray :o)

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