God dwells in the world! We carry this Christmas proclamation with us each day in work, life, struggle, and joy.
Vicar Andrea Bonneville
The Second Sunday of Christmas, Year B
Text: John 1:(1-9), 10-18
Beloved in Christ, grace and peace to you in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
God dwells in the world.
This is our five-word prologue for the new year. It is the wisdom and insight that has been born into our world.
The prologue message that God dwells in the world is what we will need to orient us and ground us, to give us the perspective we need and a direction for where we are going.
The purpose of the prologue is to prepare us for what we are about to encounter. In our reading for today from John’s Gospel, we hear a section of John’s prologue as John is providing us with what we need to know as we begin to encounter God.
John’s prologue reveals that God’s Word is in the world and that God’s Word took on human form as Jesus and lived-in human flesh in order to redeem what God loves, showing us that God’s glory is filled with grace and truth.
John’s prologue also points to the beginning, when God’s Word created the world and all of its inhabitants and called it good. We are told human beings are created in the image of God and God calls us to be co-creators in caring for all of God’s creation.
But anyone who has read today’s headlines sees that humans have a hard time caring for creation and caring for each other. Injustice and oppression always have a place in the daily news.
And again, our community is in the headlines as another brother was killed by police in our neighborhood. We shake with fear and anger, cry at the sight of injustice and cry out against injustice.
Grieving for another beloved life has been taken from this world and asking what this means for our community in the days to come.
We proclaim all people are created in the image of God, that every body reflects the radiance of God, and that God dwells in humanity yet systemic racism, classism, xenophobia, among other structures of oppression create biases and cloud our vision, preventing us from seeing God’s presence in humanity.
The pain in our lives and in our community can become so consuming that we don’t know where to turn. When we get to this point, we must cling tightly to the promise that God is active in our world and knows firsthand all the troubles we face.
We are comforted knowing Jesus experienced the fullness of human emotions and felt the aches and pains of our bodies. Jesus lived in the world filled with injustice and showed us a different way of living that puts caring for our siblings in Christ with dignity and love at the center of our purpose.
Jesus came into being to show us the truth and grace of God’s heart so that our lives can take form and become examples of God’s truth and grace. Because once we have experienced the fullness of God’s truth and grace in our lives, we can’t help but to proclaim this truth and grace in the world to bring healing justice and peace.
But even these encounters may spin a web of grief and frustration so thick; we may have a hard time seeing how God is present in the world. It might be difficult find hope and grounding as we share God’s grace and truth and seek God’s presence.
Experiencing the fullness and mystery of God’s dwelling in this world was more reachable when we worshipped together in physical community. Our liturgy activates all of our senses as we touch, smell, hear, taste, and see God’s presence in our community.
Our encounters are simply different for now as we have had to open ourselves and stretch ourselves to experience God. We’ve been practicing bringing our liturgy into our daily lives, keeping our eyes open and our hearts hoping to experience God dwelling in our world in unexpected and ordinary places.
In unexpected ways God’s Word, the same word that spoke creation into being, enlightens and enlivens us today. God’s Word animates the world, transforming ordinary things in our daily lives, like homemade cookies, bird feeders, walks in the neighborhood, and a note from a friend into places that reveal to us that God is present in real and tangible ways.
Our lives are imperfect and ordinary places that become divine and shine with God’s own radiance in the world. As God is made known to the world through our compassion and care, our seeking for justice, and our hope for the well-being of all of God’s creation.
We hold fast to God who dwells in the world and within us for good and cling to the certainty that we as ordinary flesh made divine, co-create this world each day through our work, life, struggle, and joy.
Therefore, when we lose our grounding and are unsure where to turn, we turn to the beginning, to the prologue message that God dwells in the World. This wisdom and insight are almost all we need to begin each new day.