Message Supplement for Sunday 5 January 2020: “Divine Word”

In the marvelous spirit of the New Year, have a fantastic 2020. I share with you God’s enthusiastic embrace, filled with promises and possibilities. Prepare to experience wonderful 2020 vision as you make this year the clearest ever.

Before beginning the lectionary message from John 1:1-18, be aware that every January 6 is the religious holiday of Epiphany, the revealing of Jesus as the promised Messiah. Epiphany originated as Eastern wise men visited a young Jesus and presented gifts honoring his divine status. There’s much speculation about the wise men, especially their possible role as astrologers, diviners or priests from the Zoroastrian religion in Persia. Whoever they were, the wise men point to Jesus’ special status. All of this makes for iconic imagery but what’s in it for you? Is there a way that God can be revealed through you by becoming an epiphany in your life?

There’s a neat way in which people who follow God reveal God’s presence. Epiphany is a reminder that through your life and that of other spiritually-awakened believers God’s timeless love and truth are evident. It is through human interaction, all the ways in which compassion is channeled through people, that God’s presence is felt and shared. You may not consider yourself a king or queen or some royal wise person but your divine pedigree as a child of the Almighty is just as real. Your life is a gift far more valuable than the gold, frankincense and myrrh shared by the ancient wise men.

Epiphany is a great way to honor Jesus as the Lord of life. Similarly, today’s lectionary verses in John also set Jesus in the high heavens. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Seldom is Jesus’ divine status narrated more magnificently as in this, John’s description of Jesus as the embodiment of God’s power. John goes on to equate Jesus with light, life and the forces of creation. John’s use of the Greek word logos is translated into English as “Word.” But this isn’t just any word, it is the Word. It is the grandest, highest type of Word because the sense is that Jesus is equated with God’s underlying essence. John’s statements have busied theologians for centuries yet the practical effect from all the philosophical language is that you can be restored, renewed, and redeemed by the same divine empowerment.

What does John’s concept of logos have to do with New Year’s?  You are encouraged to create a renewed reality by allowing yourself to be redeemed through the transformation of your heart and mind. All the grand claims about who Jesus is and what God has done can be abstract and overwhelming. This is why everyone needs to feel God’s presence in life’s highs and lows. You can follow theology and doctrine until you are blue in the face but the real challenge is striving to for God’s presence. You will be known by your fruits—behaviors—and if you have become like a good tree producing good fruit then that’s more significant then slavish obedience to religious rules and traditions.

The most energized spiritual life arises when your attitudes and actions are aligned. The old saying about talk being cheap applies especially to faith. Apathy and ignorance can lead you to just “sign on the dotted line” and leave your soul in the hands of religious officials, denominations and bureaucracies. However, you can live the most authentic life when you resist the seduction to subcontract your personal relationship with God to any third-party. Allow God’s presence to be the epiphany you share with the world.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey


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