Summary: All Christians can say easily that Christ is the Light of their world, and they even mean it. But what is this light of the world, and if they knew, they would not say it so readily. Find out what this light truly is.
This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 2nd January 2010; St Oswald’s is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
The readings for today are:
Our sermon text for today comes from the Gospel of John Chapter 1 verses 1 to 18. “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”.
“Please join me in a short prayer from Psalms 19:14, and In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, open our hearts to your word, - a word that passes faithfully from our hearts to life eternal. Amen
Our first reading this morning was from the book of Jeremiah, where the text had few direct links with the other readings today, however it is appropriate because it expresses the mood and spirit of the celebration of Christmas.
For example, the news of Christ's birth is an announcement of salvation where the Lord saved, ransomed and consoled a people from sorrow unto joy. It is, of course, a prophetic announcement concerning the return of exiles to the Promised Land.
I particularly like the last verses which say: “Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow”.
That is a very positive and pleasant prophecy where the passage uses the metaphor of redeeming someone, who has been left in pledge for a debt, or from slavery.
To move on, our Gospel message this morning is about Jesus being the light of the world, but before we explore that topic we need to start at the beginning in John chapter 1 verse 1 where John views the creation differently from the other gospel writers.