Rev. Katherine Todd
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of 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 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.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 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.
This scripture from John is rich. It is rich in theology. In other words, we learn a lot about God and Jesus Christ through this passage.
I love the images we get for Christ – such as the Word, Light, Life, and God’s only Son.
In this passage we learn that Christ has been with God from the beginning. We learn that God and Christ are together as one God. We learn that Christ has made God’s heart known. Christ is the greatest revelation of God – the greatest window into God’s character and heart.
But what strikes me the most today, is the word “all”. In Christ ALL things came into being. Not one thing came into being except through Christ, who is the life of ALL things.
We, in our wisdom and intelligence, might beg to differ with this statement. After all, how many are born out of love and lust, abuse and power, inequality and coercion… How many have come into being after a drunken night. And there are nights of celebration and rejoicing… You’ve heard about Super Bowl babies, right? There are a slew of babies born precisely nine months after the Super Bowl each year…
In our wisdom and intelligence, we might argue that many things have come into being by human invention. We have created things. We have bio-engineered life. We have cloned beings.
In our wisdom and intelligence, we might argue that some living beings cannot be created by God – because they are do detrimental or degenerate…
And yet this passage does not say, SOME things came into being through Christ, but that ALL things came into being through Christ.
This claim flies in the face of all we think we know. Can it be, that behind all our loving and lusting, abuse and coercion, mistakes and happenstance, invention and ingenuity,…is Christ, lending life, giving life, granting life, making life out of everything?
Could it be that everything we think we’ve done and made, we are simply borrowing the light, borrowing life?
Could it be that all light and life spring from the One Light, the Source of all LIFE?
I think that is what this passage is claiming. And I believe it to be true.
“What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”
Again we have this word “all”.
Not only is the claim that all life springs from Christ, but that Christ’s life is the light of all people. Christ is the hope for all people. Christ is the salvation of all people.
So for the all differences we notice among ourselves. For all the differentiations we make between ethnicities and backgrounds, intelligence and perseverance, do-gooders and do-badders… For all our sorting of people and creatures, GOD speaks of us all. GOD gives LIFE to all. GOD created ALL. GOD is the life and the LIGHT of ALL.
GOD came for all.
And going yet one step further, it says that from Christ’s fullness, we have ALL received grace upon grace.
We are all here because of Christ. The life that is within us has come from Christ. And we have all received grace upon grace upon grace through Christ’s fullness.
Our light in the darkness is Christ, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The darkness did not overcome it…from the beginning until now.
I don’t know about you, but believing this changes how I see and treat others. We are not more different than we are alike. We all come from the same God. We all live and move and have our being through Christ. We have all received grace upon grace. And our hope is bound up together, for Christ is the light of all people.
It also changes how I see myself. I find it humbling to realize that behind all my life-giving work is Christ, the author and giver of all life. It puts things in perspective to realize that insofar as I have created and restored life in the world, I have done so by Christ, the creator and life-giver of all things.
For all this talk of unity – common source and common hope – I realize that in this world, we will continue to have our differences of opinion and lifestyles. We will continue to call God by different names and understand God in different ways. Some of us will draw near to God and others of us will flee away. Some of us will join our lives to God’s life and others will take their own paths. We may even be both of these people, at different times and seasons in our lives.
But down deep, beneath all our differences, I pray that WE may actively and intentionally remember that truly there is more that unites us than that separates us. Our beginning and our end is Christ. Our life and our hope is Christ.
Christ has given life and light to ALL people.
do the same.