The Light

Date: 
Sunday, January 5, 2020
Scriptures: 
John 1

This reading was done responsively with the leader reading the questioning, and the community responding with the verses from John 1.

John 1:1-10; 14

In the very, very beginning - it really seems that we don’t know what was. Nothing had gone bang. And we can’t tell what was happening before that. Really, even in science, it is only what happened at the bang and beyond that really matters. At the »» marks, the slides were advanced to cue the community in their reading.

We do not need to contradict science. The Bible is not a science text-book. »» But you can tell me another part of the puzzle:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

The concept of Word comes to us from the Greeks. We know that words are powerful. Despite the child’s rhyme, words can hurt, and words can build up. Words are a way of forming concepts and ideas, words are creative building blocks and have great power to make change. But this is not just words that the writer is speaking of. This is the Word. And we know that this Word is even more powerful than words. »» You can give me an idea of the significance of this Word:

All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

But there was darkness when the Christ-child was born. The Roman occupation; the burdens of a religion of rules. »» Yet you give me another assurance:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

But there was darkness, deep darkness - the religious leaders sought to protect their power and their status, and they were not ready to listen to the words of the prophet-teacher Christ. They were ready to have him killed. There was darkness, deep darkness, because the civil rulers were ready to work with them to ensure the death of the Christ. »» Yet you still assure me of one thing:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

And through the ages we see darkness created by humans seeking their own desires, blind to the humanity of others - with slavery, war, violence against women and children, exploitation of those with less power. I know you are not ignoring these horrors. »» Still, you bring words of comfort:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it..

And still today we see darkness - a troubled world with exploited peoples and exploited lands; people who are more interested in their power and wealth than the humanity of others. Violence, war, injustice continue. And yet..... even in the darkness, »» you give the assurance again:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

And in our own lives, we know darkness. Health issues, grief, loss, worries, uncertainties and burdens - the list goes on. Do these things bring impenetrable darkness? Or can you tell me again that the Word, the Light is greater? Can you tell me, yet again, »» the assurance for all ages?

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

You tell me this thing. Word by word, word by word, it lifts one from despair. This thing needs to be heard. This news needs to be heard by each and every one - so that the light is known, so that eyes are opened, so that the lost and fearful can find their way. »» But how did we come to know such a thing?

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.

John must have been a wonderful person - - he had his own disciples, his own followers. We could be followers of him too, »» could we not?

He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

Then, indeed, we are best to turn to the light, to seek it out, even when darkness seems overwhelming. »» For whom was the Light sent?

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

By this light - you mean that same One, the One you also called Word - - So all was made by through the Word, »» through the light, yes?

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.

But I need to understand - this Word, this light - is this the Christmas story? Or is it something else? A Word, the light - these things are so very philosophical, a bit “out there”, and hard to relate to. But in Christmas, we talk about God coming to be with us. »» Is this the same thing?

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory.

Amen.