1 In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
2 The Word was with God in the beginning.
3 Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
4 through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
Many Greek philosophers identified “the Word” (Greek logos) as the great Idea behind the universe. The Hebrew Bible began (like John) with “in the beginning,” and said God spoke all that is into being. John defined what he meant by “light” more specifically. The person Jesus he had seen, heard and known, he said, was the light who broke into the world’s darkness. Coming to earth, Jesus the creator was creating anew.
Lord Jesus, what came into being through you was life, was light. Thank you for creating new life in me as your light reaches to the dark corners of my being. Amen.
This week, I toured the home and museum of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois with my family. As we studied his life, I came to see that Lincoln was a light bearer in pushing back the darkness of slavery in our country. It’s as if he had a deep inner knowing that his life’s work was to fight for justice and human equality. This knowing seemed to carry him through repeated personal tragedy and the presidency of a dark and divided country.
Lincoln’s personal darkness began in watching his mother die when he was nine years old. He lived in poverty and struggle, but was determined to educate himself. He suffered many failures in his early career and lost several elections before running for president. Three of his four sons died as young boys, each with death following a long illness. As we might expect he, and his wife Mary, suffered a lifetime with deep bouts of “melancholy."
Despite personal darkness and repeated loss, Lincoln was a light bearer who fought for justice to end slavery and unite our country in freedom for all. Lincoln was killed in 1865, just as he was seeing the light overcome darkness in our country. His life served to begin restoring human equality in the United States. He began the light bearing with the emancipation proclamation and other light bearers saw it through, passing the 13th amendment eight months after Lincoln’s assassination.
Lincoln’s life inspired me to believe we are each called to be light bearers. We won’t each leave a museum-worthy legacy, but our individual lights contribute to bringing collective light to the world. Your gifts, talents, experiences, losses, successes, and knowledge are waiting to be used to serve God in a unique way. There is a need, pain, injustice, or suffering group that will be served by what you have to offer. Jesus brought the light to us so that we may be the light bearers today. Together we can push back the darkness and be the light we are called to be.
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