Seventh Day of Christmas   9 comments

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

Jesus is the Truth

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2017

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1 John 2:18-21 (New Jerusalem Bible):

Children, this is the final hour;

you have heard that the Antichrist is coming,

and now many Antichrists have already come;

from this we know that it is the final hour.

They have gone from among us,

but they never really belonged to us;

if they had belonged to us, they would have stayed with us.

But this was to prove

that not one of them belonged to us.

But you have been anointed by the Holy One,

and have all received knowledge.

I have written to you

not because you are ignorant of the truth,

but because you are well aware of it,

and because no lie can come from the truth.

Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13 (New Jerusalem Bible):

Sing a new song to Yahweh!

Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!

Sing to Yahweh, bless his name!

Proclaim his salvation day after day,

declare his glory among the nations,

his marvels to every people!

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad!

Let the sea thunder, and all it holds!

Let the countryside exult, and all that is in it,

and all the trees of the forest cry out for joy,

at Yahweh’s approach, for he is coming,

coming to judge the earth;

he will judge the world with saving justice,

and the nations with constancy.

John 1:1-18 (New Jerusalem Bible):

In the beginning was the Word:

the Word was with God

and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things came into being,

not one thing came into being except through him.

What has come into being in him was life,

life that was the light of men;

and light shines in the darkness,

and darkness could not overpower it.

A man came, sent by God.

His name was John.

He came as a witness,

to bear witness to the light,

so that everyone might believe through him.

He was not the light,

he was to bear witness to the light.

The Word was the real light

that gives light to everyone;

he was coming into the world.

He was in the world

that had come into being through him,

and the world did not recognize him.

He came into his own

and his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him

he gave power to become children of God,

to those who believed in his name

who were born not from human stock

or human desire

or human will

but from God himself.

The Word became flesh,

he lived among us,

and we saw his glory,

the glory that he has from the Father as only Son of the Father,

full of grace and truth.

John witnesses to him.  He proclaims:

This is the one of whom I said:

He who comes after me

has passed ahead of me

because he existed before me.

Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received–

one gift replacing another,

for the Law was given through Moses,

grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.

No one has seen God;

it is the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart,

who has made him known.

The Collect:

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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In the middle 1990s, when preparing a homily on the line, “What is truth?” (The Gospel of John quoting Pontius Pilate), I consulted a scholarly, multi-volume Bible dictionary in the library at Valdosta State University.  The Greek word translated as “truth” indicated reliability, as distinct from accuracy, I learned.  (Indeed, a technically accurate statement can be misleading, so reliability is the greater goal.  And a myth, although not historically or scientifically accurate, can teach profound truth.  Witness the opening of Genesis, which contains great truths about human nature and divine nature, but is neither history nor science.)

So hopefully my meaning will be clear when I state plainly that Jesus is the truth.  This is a devotion for the heart of the Season after Christmas, a time rooted in the incarnation of God in the form of Jesus, fully human and fully divine.  The teachings of Jesus are reliable and his life backs them up.  Attempts (often in the name of organized religion) to domesticate Jesus have not obscured completely his essence.  He was a challenging person.  Indeed, someone with his CV would have great difficulty become the pastor of certain congregations.  Yet he was–and is–the Master.

By human standards Jesus was a failure.  He was often at odds with the religious establishment.  The secular authorities executed him as a bandit–a threat to national security, if you will.  (The quest to maintain national security entails a variety of sins when it involves stomping on people unjustly.)  Yet Jesus was not a failure, obviously.  So what does this say about human standards of success?

KRT

Written on June 6, 2010

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Posted September 15, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2017-2018, Christmas, December, Episcopal Church Lectionary

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