A priest and performer considers religion, the arts, and the often thin space between sacred and secular, church and culture, pulpit and pew.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Third Day of Christmas: December 27 – John, Apostle and Evangelist

On the third day of Christmas, God’s true Love gave to me…

…a reminder to walk in the light and to mirror the light as best I can in my own life.

John is almost universally acknowledged to be “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, and is often referred to as “St. John the Divine”. He was exiled on the Greek island of Patmos, and is believed to have lived long enough to see the fledgling church into its second generation. The fourth gospel and three New Testament letters are attributed to him, as is the book of Revelation. The ideas of light and darkness figure prominently in these books, and the prologue to his gospel hearkens back to Genesis both in opening text (“In the beginning”) and action (in the first act of creation, God breaks through the darkness by speaking light into existence, and through the Word made flesh the light shines in the darkness, which cannot overcome it). John reminds us that in the person of Jesus Christ, the light of God’s glory and grace came into the world. “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5).

The first of the Hebrew scripture readings for Christmas, Isaiah 9:2-7, proclaims that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. It’s not difficult to find darkness in the world; in truth, it never has been. Whether of our own making, or thrust upon us by people and situations beyond our control, it can threaten to overcome us. But we can take God’s promise of everlasting light to heart, and we can mirror God’s light, grace, and love in this world that God so loves.

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