Today’s Word: ‘Primary” as in… another look at the primary questions.
Let’s take yet another look at John 1:1-14:
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
There are a number of “primary questions” that we continue to ponder. The first is this: “Who are you?” This is the “Identity” question. The 16th century mystic saint, Teresa of Avila probably said it best:
“You are the presence of Christ in the world—who has no body now but yours; no hands, no feet on earth but yours—yours are the eyes through which Christ looks with compassion on the world. Yours are the feet with which Jesus walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which God blesses all the world.”
That’s who you are. To continue to ask this question of ourselves will eventually make us better for one another.
The second question is this: “What are you doing here?” This is the “Purpose” question. You could also say it’s a question of mission. Again, Teresa of Avila:
“You are here to reach across the gap – across the chasm into the life of someone in need. You are here to be the hands, the feet, the eyes—the body of Christ, because Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
In what’s known as The Prologue from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, the writer is rather poetically connecting these questions to Jesus. John tells us that Jesus is the living, breathing, life-giving, breath-giving Word who exists from beyond time and continues to create in real time. John, the “one whom God sent” wrestles with these same questions. The fascinating layer here, though, is that by locating these questions in Jesus and John, they become our questions. Who are we and what are we doing here? We are the living, breathing, life-giving, breath-giving people of God who “tell about the light so that everyone might believe.” We are those who are constantly becoming children of God.” We are living out our “birth that comes from God,” and we are those for whom “the Word became flesh” in order to make his home among us!