Thought for the Week – The Word Made Flesh by Rev Gayle Taylor

The Adoration of the Child is depicted in this 17th-century painting by Dutch artist Gerard van Honthorst. Christmas is celebrated Dec. 25. (CNS photo/Uffizi Gallery in Florence)

1-2 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.

3-5 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.

6-8 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.

9-13 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.

14 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. John 1 v 1 -14 from The Message by Eugene Peterson

What is our word today?  A word that sums up how you are, how you feel. Perhaps: tired, exhausted or energetic, positive, maybe hopeful. Or you could be angry, bitter, confused, overwhelmed, fearful, unsure, curious, excited or alright, ok.

Imagine our word for how we feel today becoming flesh.

A colleague of mine shared a story at a meeting on zoom a few weeks ago about a woman who came to see him regularly for counselling who was full of bitterness and anger. Each time he saw the woman when he would ask her, how are you today, she would say it, say the word “angry”. And so one day he asked her a different question, “What would it be like for you to not be angry, to not feel such bitterness?” She couldn’t answer but he felt God was prompting him to keep on asking the same question because this woman was so consumed by that word, that feeling, that it was occupying her whole being. You could see it in her face, how she held her body, in her posture, her walk, you could hear it in her voice. And he realised that the real counselling work was not about examining and giving attention to the anger anymore because it had become her identity – the word made flesh. She embodied anger. My colleague realised that the counselling work was now about imagining another possibility. I wonder if you could ask yourself that question about your word – what would it be like not to be….. angry, tired, curious, excited – yes, even ask it about the positive ones because it’s not just about understanding our hurts and wounds, it’s also about recognising that if we are only one way all the time, then we will miss out on many opportunities to relate and draw alongside people that God puts in our path.

As we approach the season of advent when we will celebrate the word made flesh, where God became the word LOVE., embodying love, love came down at Christmas. God with us, Immanuel, Prince of Peace, Son of God, Messiah….so many words, so many ways of being with us but all of them LOVE. May we remember that phrase, “the word made flesh” and apply it to our selves because we are called to incarnational worship and service – to take our faith and flesh it out – faith becoming flesh, Christ in our midst.

This week’s prayer:

Word of life, I offer you my word of who I am today. May your love, your healing, your power of transformation, bring understanding, empathy and grace, light to the darkness. Amen.

This week’s music: