“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…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.” (John 1:1,14)
Dear members and friends of St. Luke’s,
Each year on Christmas morning, the festival of the incarnation, we hear these words from the gospel of John. They are words that speak in the language of dreams, where nothing makes sense but everything carries meaning. They speak of mythic beginnings, time before time, the origins of all creation. They offer an unverifiable claim about the nature of reality – that something has existed since before all knowing, a word of grace and truth, and that this cosmic Word has entered into human experience, has taken on flesh and participated in life like ours.
These words from the prologue of John’s gospel speak with immediacy, “we have seen his glory.” Yet they were composed almost one hundred years after his birth. What can it mean to say that “we have seen his glory” when we have never seen his face? How is this connected to the idea that the Word became flesh and lived among us?
The Word that has existed since before all creation is a word of grace and truth, a word unafraid to describe the world as it is – and uncontent to rest until we become the world as we should be. This word is peace, it is justice, it is shalom, it is forgiveness, it is reconciliation. It is a word that has taken on flesh and lived among us, which I know because I have seen it dwelling in your flesh – in our flesh.
As the year 2009 draws to a close, I am filled with joy and gratitude for the people of St. Luke’s, who have borne the living Word for me, for each other, and for our neighborhood. Your commitment to restoring our congregation, so that we might be a sign of hope and restoration to those around us, helps me to understand how people living almost a century after the birth of Jesus could say, “we have seen his glory” – because I have seen God’s glory in you, love like that of a parent at the birth of their first child.
In the year to come, I pray that we will continue to offer ourselves to the work of putting flesh on the living Word of God. It is a Word the world longs to hear.
Pastor Erik Christensen