Rev. Rosemary Webb
8th February 2015
The One True Light

I am sure this has happened to most of us at some time or other. We may be walking or driving but we are in an unknown area, it is nearly pitch black now, and we cannot see any signs, any indication which way to go, we are sure we are lost.

After what can seem like eternity – in the distance we see lights and then we see a church which we know is in the village, our fear goes, we feel safe, we are no longer lost. It only taken one street light to remove our fear; so how much more does the light of Christ, shining through the darkness, bring us peace of mind, bring us joy.

I think the difference can be that when we see the light, say, of the village we go straight towards it when, sometimes when we see the light of Christ, we don’t go straight towards it in faith, but we hesitate and take the first side road that we come to, and in so doing we do not truly turn to Christ.

St John’s Gospel is my favourite Gospel, and the passage we have just heard one of my favourite passages, for I believe that the words in it are so important to us today. ‘The Word became flesh and lived among us’ reminds us that Jesus was in Creation, that he is God, and so he did not remain remote from us but came among us in person. He didn’t preach to us from the top of a mountain but came among us as an infant to share what human life is like.

This passage is the nativity scene, not set in a manger with the shepherds and wise men as in Luke, but set in the context of the ongoing creation story. It is set in a way which magnifies the simplicity of it. Gone is the scene everyone loves, a new born baby with his mum and dad, and instead we have this one light, the brightest light ever seen shining in the dark to remind us that God will overcome, that if we trust in the one God we too will be able to move away from darkness into his marvellous light.

Some writer’s have called John’s description of the Nativity dull, but I don’t believe it is dull. I believe John’s Gospel sets the scene within the true mystery of God. We cannot understand it all, much of it will always be a mystery, but we can see the light if we will only look.

Last time this passage was preached on the only light we had was the light of the candles, when at Midnight Mass Fr Andrew preached from the back of church. He preached on the suffering not only in the Holy Land, not only for Christians but Moslems and Jew also, but how even in the darkest moments there will be a glimmer of hope if we will only seek it.

Last week Stephen Fry, an atheist, said that if there is a God he had had a bad year, and if there is a God and a heaven he will tell him so! I can’t help but feel he is hedging his bets somewhat.

If I were to meet Stephen Fry I would like to tell him it is not God who had a bad year but humankind. God gave us all freedom of Choice to believe in him or to reject him, which is why Stephen Fry and others like him can be atheists. I must be a bit simple minded but I always fail to understand why people who reject God through their own choice cannot see that people also disobey all that God teaches through their own choice. We cannot blame God.

Last year was a bad year, most years are, but not because of God but because humankind rejects his call, too many in the world are greedy, unforgiving, intolerant, in other words they do not love their neighbour.

‘The Word became flesh and lived among us.’ When God came to live among us he didn’t, as you might say, push himself forward to jump the queue.

He couldn’t have become a more ordinary human being. The Jews didn’t recognise him because he didn’t come in glory with trumpets blazing. If he had come as the Jews expected he would have been their hero, what a different life he would have had. He would not have come to serve but to be served, he wouldn’t have understood how the majority live, he wouldn’t have understood what it is like to be a refugee, to be hated, to be tormented, to die on the Cross. No one can tell Jesus what it is like to suffer, which he why he didn’t run away, he didn’t take himself up to heaven when it was becoming obvious that the powers that be really hated him, he stayed to suffer for us.

His coming in human form reveals to us the heart of God. It speaks volumes about God’s love for us. He came to save us from ourselves, so that we would change the way we live our lives, he wants us to live lives that are worthy of being called a Christian that we might ultimately gain eternal life.

Our God loves us more than we will ever know, he did not come to earth to take the fun out of life; Christianity isn’t a doom and gloom faith; but to make it possible for us all to live our lives to the full, in a way we would never imagine. He came to show us Love. He came to confront sin. Other faiths have scriptures only Christianity has God coming among us. He came as the Prince of Peace to show us the way forward, to teach us to love each other.

On the Cross he said ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’. Such was his love for humankind.

John 1: 1-14