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Last Sunday's Sermon

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Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

The Gospel

John 1:1-18

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. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

The Sermon

When I was at seminary, I of course took a course on systematic theology. On the first day of class I was one of about forty students, most of whom were taking the coursework that would prepare them to be pastor's in the ELCA Lutheran church. I was the only Episcopalian.

Most people might think this would be kind of intimidating. But for me it wasn't. It was very liberating. While the other students were trying to follow the precepts of Luther's Catechism and they did not want to be seen as heretical to their denomination, I was not bound by any of that. After all, Episcopalians have reason as the third leg of their stool.

The first question that was asked by our professor was: What is theology. After he fielded all kinds of answers (none of which I can remember) I raised my hand and said, “Isn't it the study of God?” Somewhere back in my mind I remembered enough Latin to think theo means God and ology means to study. I think he said I was right. It has been three years since then and my memory fades on that topic.

What I do remember is that we spent almost all of our time talking and learning about the Nicene Creed. The Creed is the base of our Christian Theology and the writings of John are a large measure of the source for the Nicene Creed.

What I am saying is that what I have just read is a large part of our belief statement. Simply believing that there is a God, is hard for some people. Many years ago in my former life as a teacher I was riding on a school bus with a group of high school students. The students were part of an alternative school program and we were headed to breakfast at the boys and girls club a short distance from us.

I overheard a conversation between two girls on the bus and it went something like this: “I like your necklace.”

Thanks, my mom gave it to me. Its got a cross on in but I'm an atheist.” I wear it anyway because its pretty.”

I couldn't help myself so I jumped into the conversation. I said, “Would you explain something for me. If there is no God, then where did all of this come from?”

She replied, “ What do you mean by all of this?”

I said, “ I mean everything around us.”

She smirked and said, “Oh, that's easy. It was the big bang that got everything started.”

I thought for a moment and said, “Well, what was before the big bang?”

She said, “Oh, I hadn't thought of that.”

This passage in John goes a lot deeper than just the existence of God. It tells us that In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God. Later, John tells us that the Word, that's Word with a capital W, became flesh and lived among us. The Son of God became flesh and lived among us. Moses gave us law but Jesus gave us much more. Jesus gave us grace and truth. Jesus gave us love.

Everything in this world will pass away. I will be gone. You will be gone. Everything will pass. But the love of God will always stay with us, even to eternity.


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