Good afternoon everyone. I pray you are all safe and warm and have weathered the storm.
This Sunday (tomorrow) is our Blue Christmas service. It is a time in which we acknowledge, through liturgy and the retelling of the Christmas story, the grief that we have in our life, and by giving that grief a voice, begin or continue the process of silencing the power of grief over us.
BCUCC has been offering the Blue Christmas service for well over six years. This is my fourth time in leading one, and it has always been a positive experience.
Don't forget that tomorrow night is our Christmas Pageant which Jenny Powers and the children (and adults) of our Sunday School have worked hard on putting together. They will be followed by a mini-Christmas concert put on by the West Michigan Gay Men's Chorus, followed by fellowship and a special visit by a red-suited jolly ole' soul.
This week's scripture reflection is actually for the Christmas Eve reading: John 1:1-18, one of the most exquisite pieces of poetry you will find anywhere, any where.
Here, John makes the statement: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God."
The word Word is a word that John uses for Jesus. When he wrote his Gospel, John was looking for a way to present Christianity to Jews and to Greeks, and he realized that both cultures placed an important emphasis on the Word.
For Jews, words were not just mere sounds: words actually did something, the spoken word was, as William Barclay writes, "fearfully alive...it was a unit of energy charged with power. It flies like a bullet..." Hence, God creates in Genesis 1 by using words, Jacob steals blessings and birthrights by using words.
For the Greeks, the concept of word was just as powerful. The word for word in Greek is Logos. It means word, but is also means reason. Thus, the word of God also meant the wisdom of God, and Greeks were very big on wisdom. That is how many of them experienced Jesus: not as a miracle maker, but as the walking embodiment of God's wisdom and reason.
And for the Jews, wisdom and reason were important as well. Look at the Proverbs. In Proverbs 8 you will find an ode by Wisdom, in which Wisdom states that before the world was created, Wisdom was there, that Wisdom was present when God created established the heavens and drew a circle on the face of the deep.
When John refers to Jesus as the Word, he hits payday: a perfect way to explain just who Jesus is to two cultures who come from different religious backgrounds who can both share an appreciation and understanding of the power of words and the sovereignty of wisdom and reason.
How have you experienced Jesus Christ as a word in your life? How has Jesus Christ made himself know to you through wisdom and reason? How has the words of the Word penetrated your soul like a bullet of life giving energy.
I invite us to ponder this during the Christmas season.
p.s. to make things even more illuminated, did you know that in the Old Testament, Logos/Wisdom was referred to as a female?