2nd Sunday before Lent 12.2.12. John 1 1-14 Creation

6 02 2012


This is one of two Sundays when the Church of England goes out on a bit of an ecumenical limb by setting a  theme and selecting readings to fit. This week the theme is ‘Creation’; next it is ‘Transfiguration’. And this year we have an opportunity to read the prologue of John’s gospel in a new light.  (For some other reflections on this passage, go back to the Sermon Starter for Christmas Day 2011.)

John 1 1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 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.

Reflections and Questions

‘In the beginning’ v 1. Yes, you are absolutely meant to think ‘Genesis!’  But: is this a contradiction of Genesis 1 or a different way of approaching the subject of ultimate origins?  What can you say about the difference?

‘in him was life’ v 4. This complements the idea that ‘all things came into being through him’. It gives the sense of the pervasiveness of the Word. That there is nothing beyond or outside this creative presence, or principle.  So: is anything ever created by any other purpose?  (What about wasps and the dry rot fungus, for instance?) How can you communicate the intricate connectedness of creator and creation, creator and creature that is suggested here?

‘World’ v 10. Later on in John’s gospel the word ‘world’ seems to describe others, not ‘us’.  But what does it mean in this context? Are all three worlds in verse 10 the same world?

‘We have seen his glory’  v 14 This is a possible link forward to next week, where the theme is ‘Transfiguration’.  And so too is the word ‘light’.  The disciples coming down from Mount Tabor had certainly seen something remarkable and glorious.  When have you seen the glory of God?  What was it like?  What is it like?And why does John’s gospel have no story of transfiguration?