“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. 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.” (Jn 1.1-5)
You may have heard before that “word” in this passage is logos in Greek, which means a lot more than letters strung in order to symbolize an idea. It is the root word for logic, and so it can be translated as reason or structure or purpose. If Jesus is the Word sent to us, then he is the divine key that unlocks the very substance of existence itself. “In him all things hold together,” wrote one of the apostles. (Col 1.17)
One reason we know that Jesus is eternal with God the creator is that John put it right there in his gospel. “Without him not one thing came into being.” So Jesus is not only the Son sent to save us, he is the Alpha and Omega (Rev 22.13). Every single thing that has ever existed, from the tiny tree frog to the galaxies yet to be discovered, all of it has spun out from the mind and being of Christ who was in on creation.
Something, someone so big cannot be defined in human language. We have language, and we use language to describe God, but that doesn’t mean God is confined by our lexicon.
I was visiting with a friend recently about her faith, and she told about a recent evening with her husband, when she tried to describe to him the depth of her experience as God’s beloved, and she burst into tears because she couldn’t find the right words. She still can’t. She writes and writes about it, but the profound experience itself defies language.
Perhaps you know about that. You have had moments of holiness that washed over you unbidden. Somehow you felt connected with everything in the universe…or it was a sense of deep contentment and hope…or you felt forgiven—really forgiven—for the first time…or the love you felt for a child or parent was bigger than you remember feeling before. You got a glimpse of eternal reality.
Our faith is such a small sampling of the life God has for us. It comes in words of the creed, words of the Bible, words of our prayers. Yet these are only door latches just within our reach, handles on a portal to a dimension far beyond our imagining.
Jesus came to us from that divine dimension to tell us there is more. The life that is truly life, the life God has for us, is rich with beauty and love and belonging. The ways we pervert that life and obscure the riches are no obstacles for Christ. He wears his forgiveness on his sleeve and offers his own self to enliven our curiosity and enrich our lives. He loves us so much!
Words can’t describe it.
And so he became the Word. A human. A baby. He pitched his tent among us as a walking, talking message from the God of the universe that life is meant to be filled with beauty and meaning. He offered himself on a cross to clear away the layers of guilt and violence and greed that we have allowed to masquerade as life.
The light is coming. It shines in our darkness.
The Word is coming. He makes sense out of our confusion.
God’s promise of a Savior is the Word made flesh, the light the darkness cannot overcome.
This is an excerpt of a sermon–The Light and the Word–on my “Lectionary Sermons” page. You can access it by going to the menu.