Second Sunday of Christmas 5.1.14 John 1. 1-18

31 12 2013

Grace and Truth

John folds as much theology as possible into the opening verses of his gospel.  Each and every sentence could launch a thousand reflections, sermons, meditations, prayers and questions.


To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. What is your favourite alternative to ‘word’ as a translation of ‘logos’?
  2. If you had to prioritize ‘grace’ and ‘truth’, which order would you put them in?
  3. How significant is the contrast with Moses in verse 17?  (Does it continue into verse 18?)

Heart Questions

  1. Which verse, or phrase, from this whole passage, resonates most powerfully with you?
  2. Do you feel that the writing here is philosophical or poetic?  Is it head stuff or heart stuff?
  3. How do you feel about the John the Baptist sections here?  Do they fit and help the whole, or are they interruptions?

Hand Questions

  1.  Are there any imperatives here?  Do you detect a “call to action”?
  2.  What does grace require of you?
  3.  What does truth demand of you?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.



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