Today: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Voice of Creation    (1/8/2017 1)

One of the best known passages in the whole of the Bible - often read during the Christmas season and at the beginning of the year - is the opening section of John’s Gospel.  St John describes Jesus as the Word of God.

He was saying that before anything existed, God spoke the Word of creation.  Everything starts there, and Jesus was there, was part of it.

If we believe, as so many scientists today do, that the whole universe began at the Big Bang, some 13.8 billion years ago, then John is making the astounding claim that even before that, even before time itself existed, God was.  What has happened now is that this same God who spoke matter into existence has spoken into the world and into our time in the coming of Jesus.

But he goes on - because if God spoke the original sound of the Big Bang, God also shone the life-giving light into creation.  Jesus is God’s spoken, creative Word, and he is also the source of life, the light that brings life into the world.  He shines like light in the darkness, and the darkness will never put it out.  (Read the whole passage in John 1, verses 1-18)

Cosmologists today go on making amazing discoveries about the universe, and clearly there is so much more to be discovered yet.  It’s as though they are unpicking the strands of God’s great weaving of matter, space and time, little by little gaining glimpses of the intricacy and wonder of the creation, understanding fragments of what God has set in motion.

That is awesome, and so is John’s vision, which like so much in the universe, is too big for us to fully grasp.  But he goes on immediately to relate that great cosmic vision to the human dimension and to our own tiny world and brief moment of time.  Just as two of the other Gospels speak of Jesus being born in very ordinary surroundings in Bethlehem, so John uses the striking image of Jesus coming to our neighbourhood - he “pitched his tent among us” (see John 1, verse 14).

The sheer scale of the universe can sometimes seem terrifyingly vast, and we ourselves can feel infinitesimally insignificant.  But in the story of Jesus that John writes about, those two dimensions are almost reversed, and the human scale of God’s care and love shine through.

Within a very few verses of those opening words of John’s Gospel, Jesus is being described as “the Lamb of God” - one who in innocence and surrender carries the sin of the world.  And then again, a few chapters on, Jesus is described as “the Good Shepherd”.  Shepherds greeted his birth.  Modelling himself on their care and sacrifice, Jesus treats us as sheep needing care, nourishment and protection - which he provides.

There is an old French prayer which says - “Protect me, O Lord, your sea is so vast and my boat is so small, protect me, O Lord.”   In that spirit, and as we face this new year, we trust ourselves into the hands of the one who holds the oceans of time and space in his hands, and who has come to live next door.


Eternal God, I pray, give to me a vision of your greatness, greater than the universe itself, but give me too a sense of your closeness and your friendship, so that I may know you and trust you for each day that is to come.

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