Last night’s music was sublime. The gathered host which sang and listened, ate and prayed, was joyful. It was a lovely sight. People were there from every place, even had some folks there from India, which added a poignancy to the verse, “there came wise men from the East.” And this morning, with the songs of angels behind us, we are left to ponder the news. We join Mary, who in Luke 2, “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”
The Church, at least the portions using the RCL, ponders the news this morning with John. We ponder this:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14And 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.
15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.”
This is good news, deeply holy news, headline worthy news!
It is especially good news for sinners. And oh, wait, that means it’s good news for all people. For we are sinners! Make no mistake about it! The shoe fits so let’s wear it! This is stupendous news for sinners.
God does something so far out of the box that it stuns the sages. Any conventional take on how God should accomplish God’s purpose is tossed aside. The rulebook of deity etiquette has met its match for God does the total opposite of what one might think that God ought to do with sinners.
God doesn’t damn them. God loves them! God makes peace with them. God joins them!
God dives “manger first” into the messiness of humanity. Our God rebels against conventional wisdom by joining the rebels! God is the original “Rogue One!” Who knew!?!
God tackles the redemption project that we’d never, couldn’t ever, effect. John’s Gospel puts it this way, “…the Word became flesh and lived among us…full of grace and truth.”
God reigns—not somewhere out there, way up high, but down low, right here, with all of us!
God reigns—not far, but near!
God reigns—not for God’s self-aggrandizement, but for the loving benefit of others!
Jesus comes to us. From Bethlehem to Jerusalem, from Jerusalem to Golgotha, from Golgotha to me, to you.
And in 1 hour and 16 minutes God will enter into the ears, minds, and hearts of people through the Word bringing life and hope. And roughly 20 minutes after that, God will enter into the mouths of people through humble bread and wine bringing mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
Right there in pulpit and on altar we see the salvation of our God. Our God comes as “sweet 6 pound 8 ounce” baby Jesus—in Word and Meal—God with us, God in the flesh. There you have it—the Word made flesh for me, for you!