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.
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Many Greek thinkers spoke of “the Word” (Greek logos) as the great (though abstract) force behind the world. The Hebrew Bible began (like John’s gospel) with “in the beginning,” and said God (not abstract) spoke all that is into being. John skillfully, daringly blended those two different notions. For John, the reality was deeply personal. The person Jesus he had seen, heard and known, he said, was the logos, the Creator. In coming to earth, Jesus was creating anew to restore what had broken.
Lord Jesus, what came into being through you was life and light. Thank you for creating new life in me as your light reaches to the dark corners of my being. Amen.
For even longer than I can remember, my family has always enjoyed spending time together in Branson, Missouri, and more particularly at the Silver Dollar City theme park. If you have visited the Missouri gem that is Silver Dollar City, you might know that underneath the park is a huge cave first discovered by the Osage Tribe around the year 1500.
As the story is told, the 20th century founders of the park purposely built their attraction around the Marvel Cave so their guests could tour it. It was in just one of our more recent visits where I finally descended the 500 feet below ground level and toured the Marvel Cave. When we trekked down the stairs into the depths of the cave, we were suddenly surrounded with an overwhelming darkness. There are nearly no other experiences in my life that have compared to this sensation of being physically entrapped by utter darkness, even if for just a few moments. Finally, with the power of a single lantern, the cavernous room was awakened. The space that was once leaving me unable to even look down and see the shoes on my feet became filled with rock formations and marvelous crystallizations that told the story of its creation centuries ago.
In the same way that the very first pioneers who discovered the Marvel Cave relied on the light of a lantern to guide them on their quest to learn more about what was before them, each one of us relies on certain resources to make sense of the world around us. These might be natural resources, such as water, sunlight, plants, or soil. These resources can also be spiritual—gifts of grace, such as the reading of Scripture, prayer, or spending time with community—that point us back towards our Creator, God. Considering all that these resources may be, may they act as a sacred reminder that the God who has gifted us a world full of creation that leaves us in awe and wonder is the same God who lights our path even in the dimmest circumstances. When we do not know what lies ahead of us, God enables us to rely on the light of Christ which acts as our hope and our guide.
Today, I invite you to thank God for the gift of light. God's gift of light is not only seen through the bright sun that lights our world, or the energy sources which bring light to the places we call home, but also the Word that shatters even the darkest of times in our lives with a brightness that reveals God’s abundant love for each one of us.
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