A Different Promise for a New Year

 

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Psalm 147:12-20
John 1: (1-9), 10-18

 

1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.14 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. 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.'”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” (John 1:10-18, NRSV)

 

Let us pray: Gracious God, you have redeemed us through Jesus Christ, the first-born of all creation, whose birth we celebrate as the child of Bethlehem. Bless us with every spiritual blessing that we may live as your adopted children and witness to your glory with unending praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

 

Words. Words. Words. Our lives are full of words. There are written words, there are spoken words. We are bombarded by words. Some of these words are good and positive and helpful while others are not. While I was enjoying the multitude of bowl games over the last few days there were the endless beer commercials, numerous credit card and debit relief ads and the plethora of weight loss ads. By Saturday evening I was numb by all the words. In our world of words we have learned that when we speak we must be careful with our words, especially in our politically correct culture. What may seem like innocent words to one person can be hurtful and damaging to others. Words make a big difference. Words. Words. Words.

 

Words are important. This is the idea that John begins his Gospel and his daring theological claim that Jesus was “in the beginning” with God, that Jesus was “the Word of God” and “That all things came into being” through him. John begins with God who is the Word.

 

“In the beginning was the Word; the Word became flesh.”  The Greek word for Word is “logos” from which we get our word, logic.  “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” is then translated:  “In the beginning was the logic and the logic was with God and the logic was God.”

 

Before there was anything, before there was matter, before there was light and life, there was a plan.  In the beginning was the logic and the logic was with God and the logic was God.  The brilliance was God.  What John is saying is before something was created, there had to be a plan behind it; and from this logic, all light and life was created.

Words.

Words.

Words. Some words mean more than other words do…

 

John states that Jesus whom we know as Savior was the Word God uttered when God said, “Let there be light.” Jesus was the Word that came down the mountain when God spoke to Moses.  Jesus was the Word the prophets spoke when they said, “Thus says the Lord…”  Jesus was and is the Word. Words. Words. Words.  Some Words are more meaningful than others.

 

Jesus is not just the messenger from God; Jesus is the message.  Jesus does not simply teach us how to live; Jesus is life.  Jesus does not simply point to the Light; Jesus is the Light. Words. Words. Words.

 

The Bible, the Holy Word of God is full of wonderful and powerful words. But even those life-changing words are not enough.  Take music for example, music is so much more than notes on a page…when it is played with passion it can bring out our emotions, it can move us to tears, it can change our hearts and touch our deepest feelings.  Love is more than telling your spouse you love them; it is living it out each and every day of your relationship. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, the magnificent Word of God is more than just words written in this Holy book.

 

The Word of God is not simply good words to live by and rules to guide our lives. It is God Himself.  The Word become flesh.  The Word, which was in the beginning with God, the Word, which created all that is, the Word, which is light, and life, became flesh born of Mary in a manger in Bethlehem.

 

We in the church use Words each and every week to profess our faith.  We say we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  We say the Apostle’s Creed, or the Nicene Creed, we affirm our belief in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yes, that is what we say when we combine those Words and say the Creed.  But are those just words for us?  Do we say them because the bulletin or the prayer book says that is what comes next?  Do we say them because we have memorized the Creed and it is rote to us, it just rolls off our tongues each week?  Words. Words. Words.

 

Do we really believe the Words we say?  Do we really believe that God in Christ is the Savior of the world? Do we really believe that God can make a difference? A difference in our lives, our families, our jobs, our financial situations, our broken hearts, your failing health, and our violent city?   Do we really believe that God cares about our community, our city, our state, our nation, our world, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine or any other nation?  Or are they just Words we say each Sunday?  Do we know what we say when we say these words? Do we really believe that God will forgive all our sins and save us from the relentless guilt that is part of our lives?  Do we really believe that can do all of that?  That is what it means to be a Savior.

Words.

Words.

Words.

Do we mean what we say when we say them?

Or are they just Words for us?

 

Years ago, when our children were much younger, bedtime was a challenge in our house.  Every night one of our three children had an issue with going to bed. Most every night one of them would plead for mama or daddy to lay with him or her because they were afraid. “Daddy I hear noises…” I responded by saying, “It is okay Mama and I are downstairs and you will be okay.” A few moments later and then we would hear that same voice pleading again, “Mama, I am scared please come and lay down with me…” Monnie would respond, “Don’t be afraid it is nothing, just go back to bed and close your eyes.” After a while the voice, even more sacred this time would return, “Mama, I can’t sleep, can I sleep in your bed?”  We would finally give in and say, yes.   The next morning we would ask the child what they were afraid of.  Our children would talk about the noises and sounds they heard.  We lived in a really old house that was on a busy street so it made sense.  But I realized that the words of comfort that Monnie and I offered to them were just that words.  What our children wanted was our presence with them, our flesh, and our warmth, something tangible to calm them and calm their fears and help them sleep.

 

That is the promise of God in these Words from John, the word became flesh and blood and lived among us.  Words. Words. Words.  Sometimes Words can give life and calm troubled hearts.  Words. Words. Words.  May Jesus the Word become flesh and live in your heart and in mine now and forever.

 

Let us pray:

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