Monday, September 29, 2008

The Word became flesh: looking again at Jesus IV

A sermon from John 1.1-14: Part IV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. From the start, before anything else, God is vocal. He is expressive. He relates to one other than himself, and yet one who is so intimately tied to him as we are to words we breathe out. Sometimes we can say that we are our words; when my words threaten, or promise, or apologise, I threaten, promise, apologise. This Word is God himself in action. Yet this action is happening even before there is anything made to act upon. God in himself is dynamic, is expressive, is communicative. He is relational from the start.

Now already, one verse in, we face a threat to our comfortable ideas of God. We like to think of God as beyond words, as indescribable, as so great and mysterious and other and beyond, that he is safely unknowable. But in the beginning God put himself into words, he articulates himself. He is not silent. He is not beyond speech. He is dangerously discussable.

Yet this is also generosity. We come to know someone else primarily through their words. Tim will look at this in more depth next week, but from the start, even right back in the beginning, God gives himself in his Logos, his Word. He opens himself up for relationship, for a conversation. In the beginning was the Word. We are being invited into a conversation we did not begin. We are being invited, individually, communally and as the human race, into a conversation we did not begin - a conversation with the one who made us, who made all things, who made us and all things by speaking, and now invites us to converse with him.

And here is another shock to our idea of God. God is on the front foot; he takes the initiative; he takes the first step towards us. He starts the conversation, before we were even around, in the beginning was the Word. We might sometimes think of him like the teacher in a busy classroom, whose attention can only be gained by our being either exceptionally good, or exceptionally bad. We might think of him as the distant father, working into the night in his study. If we want to talk with him, we need to gather up our courage, marshall our excuses, thicken up our skin, creep to the door and knock, hoping our interruption will not be too much of an annoyance. But no, he’s not the overstretched teacher in a chaotic classroom or the distant father locked working in the study. He starts the conversation. In the beginning was the Word – before we’ve had a chance to make up our minds, to do anything good or bad to get his attention, before we can draw breath, in the beginning was the Word. This is a gift, a free gift we couldn’t earn and which we have no right to ignore as though God were merely a unwanted phone call to offer us a new mobile deal, or a piece of spam email promising to unbelievably enlarge our wallets or body parts. What a gift: God speaks to us. Are we listening?
Fifteen points for guessing the Sydney location.
Series: I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X.

15 comments:

Mark said...

What a privilege indeed that we are invited into a conversation with the very Word who made us! Pure grace.

Mark said...

A: The Pittwater river?

byron smith said...

Pure grace indeed!

Nice try, but no.

Are you a Mark that I know? The picture, while very helpful, is not quite helpful enough...

Anthony Douglas said...

I'll try Port Hacking.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

I would also have said the Youthworks sites on the Port Hacking

Mark said...

Port Hacking was my second guess. Deer Park to be precise?

Steve said...

Rathane conference centre...
nice sermon too.

Martin Kemp said...

Deer Park, on the balcony outside the rooms west of the kitchen. I'll even say outside the the meeting room at the end of that row of rooms.

byron smith said...

Never turn your back on the sea, and never turn your back on a points competition, even for a day. You never know how many (or how specific) the guesses are going to get!

OK, I promised fifteen points for the location. Marty's answer is by far the most accurate (could you have taken a punt at bearing and time of day too? Even time of year?), though others before him are correct with less precision. Which is more important, being first or giving more information? I think being first with the degree of specificity requisite to the question. So I'm going to give Anthony eight points for being first in the correct region (and so giving everyone else a significant clue), but I'll give Moffitt fifteen because that was the answer I had in mind when I asked it, then I'll give ten to Mark for giving more information, two to Steve for being close (though incorrect) and twelve to Marty for being so pedantic. Hardly a scientific allocation, but I think not unjustifiable.

byron smith said...

PS Steve - it's not finished yet... I wasn't self-controlled enough to sit down at this point.

byron smith said...

PPS Steve - have you scored any points previously? I have two entries for "steve", one with a public profile and one without a profile (or possibly with a private one). I'm going to assume you are the second one, unless you correct me. Or you could agree to being lumped in with the other "steve" and thus amalgamate your scores (and share your glory).

byron smith said...

PPPS Steve - I was tempted to give you more points for your lovely compliment, but don't think I want to set such a precedent... Thanks anyway!

Steve said...

hmmm I haven't been on your blog for quite awhile but I think I had one or two points somewhere along the line...I'm very happy to share the glory with the other mystery Steve.
I'm Steve Gardner, I was once a Howie while Jess was working with the EU.

byron smith said...

Ah, welcome Steve! I'll put all the points for "Steve" together then.

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店經紀,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店工作,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,

,酒店,