I’m not even sure where to start with these amazing readings. The prologue to the gospel of John is one of the most beautiful passages in the bible to me. Episcopalians love the word “mystery”… whenever we cannot explain something, we tend to say, “Oh, that’s a heavenly mystery, we cannot possibly understand that”. Which, honestly, is true about so many things, especially when it comes to the Trinity and our worship and how God works. So I take comfort in the mystery of it all; I don’t have to know everything, and since God is beyond our understanding, I’m good. I don’t have to try and figure this stuff out. I know something amazing happens when I say the prayers over the bread and wine; I know Jesus is truly present… but language has its limits, and frankly, so do we.
But here’s the thing about this beautiful and mysterious passage of scripture; it helps us to know something about Jesus. It helps us to see that God has done something incredible to make it possible for you and I to be closer to God than we are to anyone here on earth; it helps us to know that we are loved beyond measure. It is definitely mystery, but it is still something that we can know with every fiber of our being.
The Word became flesh and lived among us… The Word… the second member of the Trinity, the Son, the one who was there and breathed life into being as the creation of the world began… this one, this Word, this Son of God… became flesh; became totally human so that you and I could be adopted by God as children. As Paul tells us this morning, that makes us free; free from the bondage of sin, free from law that we could not live up to. So now we enjoy the absolute love and grace of God, given to us simply because God loves.
When we say “became flesh and lived among us” I think we can miss the intensity of what is being said, again because language isn’t always adequate. When God chose to live as one of us in Jesus, he truly lived as one of us… he became fully human with all that entails. In Jesus, God experienced all of the beauty, all of the pain, all of what it means to be human. As a professor of mine once said, “God pitched his tent among us” which means that Jesus was in it for the long haul. Jesus wasn’t a far off guest on Earth who wasn’t invested in us, but by pitching his tent, as it were, he became part of us, part of the community of humanity, and we in turn, became part of him. Adopted as brothers and sisters of the Word who became flesh. We became brothers and sisters by the very will of God who created all there is, and breathed life into all. God must love us very much to lift us up in such an incredible way. There is some seeing into the mystery by knowing with all that we are, that we are God’s own beloved.
We get to gaze at the precious one in the manger for a little longer; and other feasts of the church coming this week remind us that the thirst for power and control, the influence of evil still lurks close by. Even when God shows humanity the greatest love of all, some still serve the darkness; but the love of God is present even in the darkness; the light of the world, Jesus, the eternal Word present at the beginning of all… is the light of the world, and no matter what evil may befall us, it cannot dim the light of Christ. May we be wrapped in the joy and comfort of the mystery of the Word made flesh, and may we always show forth his light in all that we say and do.