Ministers' Blog

The Prologue to John’s Gospel

Posted on 8th January 2022

This is the sermon preached by Revd John Rackley at the new year Covenant Service.

The Gospel  John 1:1-14

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

These words are meant to get us thinking – thinking about God – they make anyone who reads them a theologian.

A grandfather was talking to his 5 year old grand-daughter. They were talking about her favourite subject. Animals; especially the furry kind. She began to ask questions which her grandfather struggled to answer.

After another fruitless question she looked up from the book of pictures of animals and asked “Grandpa, why do you only know the answers to easy questions?”

Somewhat ashamed and feeling thoroughly down-graded he replied “So which do you like? Answers that are easy to understand or the ones which make you ask more questions?”

She paused and then said “The ones which make ask another question”. Another pause,

“Which do you prefer Grandpa?”

 

There are some people who like answers. There are some people who prefer questions. Most people know there is always a blend of both.

There are some churches that deal in answers. There are others that only seem to raise questions.

Few can manage a balance of both.

Anxious theology tells us the questions to ask and then provides the answers.

Mindful  theology knows that its task is to offer paths into the ways of God which are both answer-giving and question-raising.

 

John starts his gospel with a wonderful exploration of God.  His first few paragraphs give answers and raise questions. They culminate in these words:

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

These words ring out in every carol service. They should not be left there. They are as much about Easter, Pentecost or any other Christian festival. For they reveal what was really going on in the life of Jesus and therefore can underpin the faith of his followers.

They declare that the purpose and meaning of the whole of creation was seen walking among the people of Israel offering them and all people hope, joy and fulfilment.

They announce that we are not drifting helpless in a bleak universe. At its centre is a force of life which pushes back darkness and anxiety.

We are in the midst of a creation that abides in the love of God.

Sometimes all we need is a story of Jesus to focus our faith.

At other times we need to have our minds expanded and hearts thrilled by the grandeur of God’s design and imagination. John invites us to stand back and enjoy the glow of his glory. So every day becomes a festival of grace and truth.

 

And this wonderful power which we call God is more than a glow in the sky. There is a bond which has been created through one people. It has the force of a covenant now sealed in the life-blood of the Word become flesh. This is a tie that binds us all into a relationship with God where answers and questions are in constant harmony. No one is excluded – we simply need to join the covenant of grace and truth prepared for us in Jesus the Christ.

We do not need to try to cut a deal with God on our own – the pact has been made for us by the self-giving love of Jesus.

 

A prayer

 

As the Lord watches over us

and travels with us.

Let us walk together in ways

known and to be made known

in the company of His people.

And the blessing of the one born to bring us to life

Be with us all

Now and into eternity. Amen

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