Christmas C, Year A
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the LORD has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
[For to which of the angels did God ever say,
"You are my Son;
today I have begotten you"?
"I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son"?
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
"Let all God's angels worship him."
Of the angels he says,
"He makes his angels winds,
and his servants flames of fire."
But of the Son he says,
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."
"In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like clothing;
like a cloak you will roll them up,
and like clothing they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will never end."]
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
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.
In the beginning. In the beginning.
That which we have come to know of God in the birth of the one we call Jesus, that which is revealed in him, was from the beginning. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him. Life. The light of all people. Light that will not be overcome by our darkness.
John came to testify to the light, but could not be the light because he was, as we are, born of blood, and the will of the flesh, of human will. He was no less entangled in the victimage mechanism than we are. But he testified to the light.
But the Word, the Word who speaks our freedom, who names our forgiveness, who re-creates us by the sound of his voice, has dwelt among us, and to those of us who believe is given the power to become. Not to be, but to become. We will not, in this lifetime, escape fully the snares of blood, or the will of the flesh, but we can become, we can be on the Way. (Lest we make scapegoats of those who do not believe and are also entangled!)
How do we preach on this passage without becoming poets ourselves? The glory, the majesty of these few words leaves us humbled, awed.
Still, the power of belief to set us on the road to freedom is gauranteed. We are not condemned to live as we have lived, as children of blood, of the will of the flesh, of human will, that is to say, of mimesis. We are empowered to become, to move toward a new way of being.
We look to the One in whom, for whom we were created, to the One who became our scapegoat to break forever the power of scapegoating, and in believing we are free. Merely by believing that God is this way and no other, that it is God, and no other revealed in the Son, we break the chains of myth that bind us in darkness.