This Sermon was preached by Helen Lunn this morning:
Well, there I was, thinking that Christmas really was over. The last of the mince pies are gone. The Crib set has been put away. We are in an in between season, a time called ordinary time. Lent will soon be upon us, and we will begin thinking about getting ready for Easter.
So why do we have this reading from John today? It feels so much part of the Christmas season. But perhaps hearing it today is as a reminder that in a very deep way every day is Christmas. No, not the turkey and the presents. But, so we do not forget that ever since that first Christmas 2000 years ago, Jesus is not just for Christmas. And he was with God before he came to earth to be with us, fully human and fully divine.
“The word became flesh and dwelt among us”. Jesus dwelt among us. He was with us, he is with us, and we are all in this together.
What does having Jesus in our lives mean to us? John tells us that he is the light coming into the world. Do we live our lives in a way that reflects this? Do we walk in his light, and does his love shine from us. Do we make Christ real for others?
Paul in his letter to the Colossians echoes John in writing about Jesus being there from the beginning of time. At one time Colossae had been an important city, but when Paul is writing it has lost its importance. It is important for Christians, both then and now, because in this letter Paul aims to set out clearly what is unique about Christ. Colossae was filled with all sorts or religions, and there is danger of Christians being tempted to follow other gods. There was much talk of Jesus not being truly divine, that he was no more than a great teacher. It is vital that followers of Christ recognise that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God”. Well, how can that make sense, how can you be an image of something invisible. We have to try and get beyond this picture of seeing God. Jesus was with God before all things were made. Before he was born on that first Christmas day. He came and dwelt among us. He holds the world together. Jesus is both at the heart of things, and is the head of all things.
So, what does this mean to us today? Rather than try and work it all out by myself, I read some books about it. One author, Tom Wright, Says three main points in his commentary on Colossians, which I find helpful, and hope you do too. He says “It is by looking at Jesus we discover who God is”. Jesus is not just another prophet, a good man with good ideas. He is God. We are told that “Jesus holds together the old world and the new”. And “Jesus is the genuine blueprint that is on offer through the Gospel”.
It is Jesus who allows us to be fully human. It is not through our own power that we reach our full potential. It is through Jesus that God reaches us and allows us to grow. Yesterday in the Girls group we were looking at identity, at what makes us unique, and what keeps us together. Do talk to the girls about it when we meet together after the service. And please share what helps you feel fully alive in Christ. It might be a book, or a prayer, or simply a place where you can feel at rest with our Lord. I often feel closest to Jesus just walking around, not knowing who I am going to meet, or perhaps not meeting anyone, just being quiet with God. It is Jesus, his becoming human, while being divine, that allows this.
Sometimes it is hard to see Jesus in our broken world. We want to hide away. But it is Jesus who holds the fragile world together.
If we journey with Jesus we are with the true God. He is with us at Christmas, in the ordinary times, always. He is with us here as we prepare to gather at the table and share bread and wine.
It is good to keep asking the question “Who is Jesus”? That question has exercised people down the ages. But let’s not tie ourselves up in too many knots. Jesus is our Lord and saviour. We come together to give thanks, to say sorry. Our worship takes us out into the community, enriched by the one who, as Paul reminded those doubtful, shaky people gathered in Colossae, For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and threw him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
For this, we give humble thanks.