“To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God . . . and the word became flesh and lived among us . . . full of grace and truth . . . From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1:12,14,16
Jesus is “The for instance of God,” making visible God’s character. Jesus came to add a corrective to our warped values. He came as a compass, to reorient us . . . so we would see the world and each other through the lens of God’s love.
Something in me stirs whenever I read the prologue to the gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being . . . and the word became flesh and dwelled among us.” ” John 1:1-4, 14
In both Greek and Aramaic, these last words are written as, “He pitched his tent among us.” To know that God is with me is what holds my life together. God comes to us in our most painful experiences. God is present in our confusion, our wilderness moments, our need for comfort and peace. God cares enough about each of us, to dwell with us – to live among us. God is close to us in times of trouble and loss. God is here, even in these long months of isolation and pandemic.
This past year has shown us much about ourselves we didn’t know. It exposed our strengths and our fragility. The year uncovered heroic efforts and to our dismay, it revealed self-centered arrogance. In Jesus, God calls us into a relationship of love so rich our hearts can change. Our self-centered preoccupation can grow into a concern and love for others.
The gospel writer says of Jesus, “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” John 1:12 To live as a child of God, is to participate in transformation, both in ourselves and in our world. It is the power to say “yes” to what is life-giving and “no” to what is not. It is the power to participate in building up the realm of God. It is the sight to see every person as precious in God’s eyes.
This year, I’m going to lean into growing as a child of God. Growing in love. Growing in Compassion. Growing in mercy. Growing in participating in God’s Kingdom of love.