The “Second Week”: Week Eleven/Session Two.
Theme: The Contemplation on the Incarnation.
Our reading for today: John 1: 1-14.
The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one.
Everything was created through Him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without Him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (John 1: 1-5, 14 MsgB)
When John, the writer of the fourth gospel, sat down to tell his Jesus-story, it’s apparent that he was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go back to The Beginning…(to one of those ‘fullness of time’ moments we talked about last time). You see, in Genesis 1, we find the God-head (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) saying amongst themselves…“Let us create.” And everything we now see around us, (the earth, the moon, the sun, the stars) was created, not by some random occurrence, but by the speaking of words. Holy words. Words that came off the tongue of the Creator/King. So when the God-head said, “Let there be light!”…guess what? Light was birthed.
Scientists now believe that our entire universe came into existence by some kind of massive explosion of concentrated matter, and that all of the heavens we see above us at night is still expanding and growing because of that original spark of power. And while some self-proclaimed experts refute the existence of God and His involvement with the creation of the universe, even the British astronomer (Fred Hoyle) who first coined the phrase “The Big Bang Theory” admits that the chances of our universe being birthed without a Creator is as likely as a 747 jet aircraft being assembled by a tornado sweeping through a junkyard!
I guess time will tell if today’s science has it right, but Genesis 1 simplifies it for us, saying that whatever happened to cause our universe to be birthed, it all started when God spoke these words… “Let there be…”
So John, the Gospel writer, uses the Greek word logos when talking about these “God-breathed words” that seem to have unlimited power and potential present within them. But John doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say clearly that God’s logos (life-giving words found in the creation of the world) has now been rolled into one logos (word) and has been packed by God’s purposeful intent into one human body, and that one individual is Jesus of Nazareth!
In other words, the same word(s) that God used so long ago to birth an entire cosmos are now assembled together in one place, at one time, in one human body, and (as Eugene Peterson translates John’s Gospel), that same logos of God has now moved into our neighborhood!
We use the word “incarnation” to describe this whole process of something or someone outside of this universe (in this case, the logos of God) being embodied or taking on flesh and then, living alongside us in our day-to-day human existence. Sounds a bit spooky, doesn’t it, when you say it that way? And to many, this whole concept of “incarnation” sounds like a juicy science fiction novel gone awry, but from John’s perspective (and others who experienced it first hand) the incarnation of God’s logos become the very best thing that could ever happen to them personally and to the world around them!
So, what about you and me?
Here we are nearly two thousand years after the fact. The logos of God has come, moved into a lowly Jewish neighborhood which was under the regimented rule of the all-powerful Roman government, only to be laughed at, scorned, bruised, crushed and crucified by those who should have received Him.
If that were the end of the story, I guess the incarnation would remain fairly insignificant to us. But the first century followers of God’s logos tell us that an amazing thing happened when the world tried its very best to snuff out the Light living within.
It refused to die!
As a matter of fact, as soon as scoffers came to step on the Light, it not only spread, but it also burned up those who tried to quench it! And now, here we are two thousand years later and the same Light that once moved into a sleepy little neighborhood in Israel has now spread to nearly every corner of our world, threatening to light up even more darkness in the days ahead!
Watch out world. Here comes the incarnate logos of God!
My prayer: Father, the incarnation of Your Word, has forever changed the world, and now, in my day and in my time, transform me as well. Holy Spirit, may I live and have my full being in the empowering Logos of God. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So am I fully embracing the Living Logos of God, allowing it to transform me, creating new life within me? Am I reducing my words so that I’m preferring and deferring to His Word as it lives and breathes in my neighborhood today?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.
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Follow my friend Marty as he explores this way of Contemplative Activism