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Let It Be -- John 1:1-14 (New Year's Day; 2nd Sunday in Christmas)




Our journey through Advent and Christmas this year has had two trajectories. One has had us looking up at the stars. We stood beneath the stars and marveled at the galaxies that stretched out before us. We have followed NASA’s Webb telescope – its glimpses of the universe as we had never seen it before – star-birthing regions. We’ve looked up and seen starlight that originated millions of years ago – that is only reaching us now – and we wonder at the light of our sun and where it might be millions of years from now. We wonder at the God who made all this. And us. We wonder with the Psalmist: “What are humans that you are mindful of them, O God?”

The other trajectory of our journey has had us walking around in our everyday lives – and noticing the trouble and the grace we see here. As shadows lengthened and days grew short, we have marveled at the love and tender mercy of our world – in darkness and in light – the hurt and the healing – the longing for freedom. We’ve read the stories of Advent and Christmas and listened to their ancient longing – we’ve heard of the coming of the Christ – and we’ve sung how “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

One trajectory has had us traversing the expanse of God’s cosmos; the other has had us journeying through the embodied, oh-so-earthy realities of our everyday lives.

In this first chapter of the Gospel of John, those two trajectories converge.[1] The Gospel of John begins not with the story of nativity, but with this: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God – or towards God – the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.


The Gospel of John begins with the expanse of the cosmos – across time and space. “In the beginning” – with those few words – the Gospel takes us back to the very beginning – back to Genesis – “In the beginning, everything was in chaos and without form” – and God spoke – God spoke all that is into being. With a Word. Stars, and sun, and moon, the expanse of the sky, land and sea, every living thing. God said, “Let there be”... and there was... and God said that it was good. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

This Word in Greek – the Word that was in the beginning – the Word in Greek is Logos. In Greek, Logos is the warp and woof of creation – what one writer calls “the logic that permeates and structures the universe” – the Logos – this transcendent, life-giving, life-enabling word. In this morning’s scripture, Logos is a creating word – the Word by which everything comes into being. And, it is a communicating Word – the word by which God makes God’s self known. The Logos – the Word creating from the very beginning – a light that endures through the darkness – a cosmos teeming with life.

And then, the cosmic becomes embodied. This Word becomes flesh. Remember, this is the start of the Gospel – the Gospel of John – the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us, full of grace and truth – and the story of Jesus flows out from this. The dwelling word is more literally that the Word comes in and sets up a tent – comes and takes up residence. And – if you look closely at the Greek – it’s not so much that the Word comes and dwells among us – it’s actually more that the Word comes and dwells in us – that’s the preposition in Greek – in us. The Word becomes flesh and dwells IN us, full of grace and truth. The cosmic becomes embodied.

There’s some science to that. Along the same lines