January 5, 2003

John 1:1-18

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.

There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

The Life-Light was the real thing:
   Every person entering Life
   he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
   the world was there through him,
   and yet the world didn't even notice.
He came to his own people,
   but they didn't want him.
But whoever did want him,
   who believed he was who he claimed
   and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
   their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
   not blood-begotten,
   not flesh-begotten,
   not sex-begotten.

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.

<The Message>


1. In the individualistic United States we have trouble moving into another neighborhood. We move locations, but we don't engage the people in the new locality. So there is some question about the old slogan that all politics is local. How do you define "local" these days?

2. When we are able to move into a neighborhood -- to be a neighbor to others and to allow others to be our neighbor -- it is like scales fall from our eyes. We can see the glory already present there but hidden by our distance.

3. When we are able to be real, to be flesh and blood, with neighbors there is an automatic release of generosity. We share lives. The good moments are multiplied and the tough times are shared.

Now how do we take all this and apply it to whole neighborhoods moving? How do we apply this to nations remaining at a distance from one another, emphasizing borders and differences? What keeps us from noticing that we all fall short from glory - that your falling shorter than I in a particular may be related to my falling shorter than you in another particular? Keep praying for peace, particularly while there is no peace.