However familiar this text becomes it remains mysterious.
Not long ago somebody told me enthusiastically about their bible study group. They had ‘done’ John’s gospel and some of the members of the group had for the first time understood this text that they had heard all their life on Christmas but never before grasped.
I wanted to ask: what was it that was understood, but I dared not. For me after years of study it remains a mystery.
How does God have the courage to eliminate the unbreachable separation between the divine and the human? This is blasphemous: it makes what is sacred into something profane. How can God become flesh and pitch a tent (‘lived among us’ – the NRSV translates boringly) without not being God anymore, without forever changing.
Luckily the Church and religion have quickly reinstated the chasm that divides us from God. But every Christmas (and every time I see a new born baby – which never fails to remind me of ‘a child has been born for us’ Is. 9:5) the security of having holiness in one box and secular life in another box is shattered.
The wonderful, awe inspiring but also scary and simply incomprehensible realisation: everything has been infected with holiness even the darkest corners of humanities evils.
25 December 2015
John 1: 1-14
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.