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.
Have you ever wished God would just speak to you? That God would just tell you just who he is and what he wants for you? It’s likely that everyone who has ever been hungry to know God has cherished the hope that God can and will speak clearly.
The wonderful news announced in this profound passage at the beginning of the fourth gospel is that it’s God’s very nature to do exactly that. In reflecting on this passage, we realize that God is self-revealing. Self-communicating. God wants nothing more than to be known by us. God constantly makes himself known to whoever believes in him. God speaks, and wants nothing more than to be heard. One way of thinking about the Trinity is that God the Father is the speaker, God the Son is the eternal Word that God continues to speak, revealing God’s intentions, and God the Spirit is the breath that carries the Word from God to people of faith. Who opens our ears so we can hear what God has to say.
God has spoken to us most clearly and decisively by coming into the world in the person of his Son, Jesus the Messiah. Verse 14 goes on to make that clear: “The Word became flesh and lived (literally in the Greek, ‘dwelt,’ ‘made his home,’ even ‘pitched his tent’) among us.” Second, God speaks to us in and through the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Presbyterians believe the scriptures are the authoritative written witness to the Word made flesh: God in Christ. And third, we believe God speaks to us in and through the preaching and hearing of the Word in the context of corporate worship. The Spirit inspires the preacher in careful preparation for preaching–preaching that notices the differences and similarities between the original historical context and our current context, and then enables us to hear what God has to say to us today. As we read scripture day by day, listening carefully for God to speak to us through the sermon each week, we can hear and follow God’s will.
God is the source of our life, and the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it. Our congregational mission statement reflects this profound truth: “Called to be a light on the hill, we boldly proclaim and serve Christ, the hope of our changing world.”
One of the best ways for us to listen for what God wants to say to us in this season of Advent is to commit ourselves to be in worship every Sunday, and to prayerfully set aside a few minutes every day to read the Advent scriptures being shared here, and to prayerfully seek to know God more closely. Let’s do that together!
Gracious Father, thank you for speaking to us as the Word made flesh who lived among us, and through the witness of scripture, opened to us by the breath of your Holy Spirit. May we follow your call to be a light on the hill, boldly proclaiming Christ, the hope of our changing world. Amen.
Contributed by Phil Butin