January 4, 2004

John 1:1-18
[1] The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
[2] in readiness for God from day one.
[3] Everything was created through him;
nothing - not one thing! -
came into being without him.
[4] What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
[5] The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn't put it out.

[6] There once was a man, his name John, sent by God [7] to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. [8] John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

[9] The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
[10] He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn't even notice.
[11] He came to his own people,
but they didn't want him.
[12] But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
[13] These are the God-begotten,
not blood-begotten,
not flesh-begotten,
not sex-begotten.
[14] The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

[15] John pointed him out and called, "This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word."

[16] We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
[17] We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding-
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
[18] No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day.

[The Message]


1. So what are you pointing toward these days?

2. I appreciate the humility expressed in John's pointing to a way toward "Life-Light." One of the helpful places of other traditions, such as Buddhism or the medieval mystics is their focus on a step-by-step process or way toward some expected blessing. All too often these days we are settling for pronouncements, shoulds, and doctrines.

After we have spent some time on the way, we may have grace enough to recognize Life-Light and be able to say internally, "This is it." This recognition is not easily or straightforwardly transferable to another. It does, however, motivate us to assist others in honoring the ways that lead somewhere helpful.

3. We struggle to articulate God-Expressions. Always we are approximating our experience. Sometimes we do so more closely than others.

What criteria will you grant authority in your life to point directions. Are you willing to take John's word for it that the one coming-after has, in the blink of an eye, moved ahead? Imagine someone telling you about their vision. If you can get past the impulse to let them know about your own experience - is testimony or witness of another enough for you? Do you think your accounting would be enough to motivate an unchurched person (seeking or not) to sit up and believe?

How might you assist them to take one more step, to have one more experience, that may, at some point, urge them further on?