Summary: Intelligent people will have us believe one cannot see the Word or hear the Light, but we can
Sermon for John 1:1-18
2nd Sunday after Christmas
January 2nd 2005
Happy New Year again! And to begin the New Year we are given the first words from the gospel of John. What an abstract passage! Word becomes flesh. Light becomes life. Or is it that abstract?
Most intelligent people will tell you and I that one cannot see the spoken word, only hear it. One cannot hear the light only see it. Yet we know they exist and when taken together in the form of John’s gospel we can blow out the minds of the so call intelligent people, because one begins to truly see the word, and truly hear the light, leading to abundant life that is above comprehension.
This morning I would like to look at these two abstract or not so abstract concepts, and perhaps we all begin to hear a little better and see a little clearer.
I read that the average person speaks about 27,500 words per day. It blows my mind that someone actually spends the time to research these events. However, the study claimed that men used 25000 words (give or take a few), and women use 30000 words (give or take a few). And I believe right here men lie some of our heartache. You see, when I come home in the evening I have pretty much used up my 25,000 words, while my wife still has probably 5000-10000 words left. So I begin to drown in a sea of words.
Still we all know words are important, but which words do we listen to? There are so many out there: Confusing words. Misused words. Abusive words. We live in a culture where words are cheap. Politicians carefully craft their statements so that even simple words like IS can have multiple meaning.
Advertisers try to sell us “new and improved” versions of the same old thing. Contracts are tossed aside, promises not kept, marriage vows broken, laws ignored. But you must admit, words are still important.
We drown in a sea of words bombarding us on a daily basis. A sea of words that frighten us with the news of war. A sea of words that confuse us with the promise of a better life. A sea of words that hurt coming from our lips.
Then there is The Word. In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God...And The Word became flesh and lived among us.
Jesus is the only Word we can build our lives on, the only Word we can trust. The only Word that breaks into our sometimes silent and dark world and allows us to hear and to see.
Now the Word and the Light become not abstracts concept but flesh and blood. A God that created light and all there is with simply the Word has come to live among us and actually show you and I the light. What has been invisible to many now becomes visible through Words rapped up in deeds, giving you the light you need as you muddle through the Sea of Words.
The heart and soul of the Lutheran tradition teaches us that God comes to us through Word and Sacrament. I don’t know if you realize that the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are simply visible signs of the same Word.
When we sing the hymns of praise and the liturgy, when we recite the confessions, when we read the lessons, when we participate in Holy Communion, God becomes not an abstract concept but real flesh. A presence we can hear and a presence we can see.
That why it is so important to come to church each and every week. Let me repeat that, each and every week. So that God’s Word, the actual presence of God can infuse the light of life into our existence, and sort out the sea of words that complicate our already complicated lives.
So many times I hear the age-old saying, “But I don’t need to go to church and worship God, I can do that at home or out on the golf course.
And I usually reply to this person, that may be true if one took the time at home, or at the 19th hole with those around them and sang hymns of praise, made their confessions, read the lessons of the Holy Scriptures, and partook of the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Then I ask them if they actually go through all the trouble?
We come to church to worship and praise God we receive this Living Word which in turn will provide you light in a dark world. We read the Scripture on Sunday and hopefully during the week to bring light and life into the mundane, and we pray and listen daily for the Word of God for guidance and strength.