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Rector's Reflection: New Beginnings, December 30, 2023

Beloved Members of St. Martin’s,


Here we are bumping up against the end of a calendar year, and the start of another. 2024 stretches before us like a pristine sheet of paper. For many people, it is a time of new beginnings: resolutions to make, hopes that crises will be resolved in the name of good, and the balance between darkness and light has already started tipping in light’s favor.


But the most important beginning of the season is the one that all too often gets brushed aside: here in the time of darkness, a rekindling of light—the light of God. The joy of the newborn Christ-child, the Son of God entering time, taking on human flesh, opening a new way for God to be revealed to us and to show us the way to live into our full potential as human. For many of us, that is indeed the best beginning of them all.


This is why this Sunday’s gospel contains the prologue to the Gospel of John. Unique among the four canonical gospels, it mindfully begins with a poetic proclamation harkening back to the very first verses in the Bible: “In the beginning….”


The most powerful thing that moves among us is that which is spoken by God. God spoke creation into being. John’s gospel takes this a step further: the Word himself was the agent of creation of all that is, was, or ever shall be.


Look back at Genesis, chapter 1: at each step, God says, “Let there be….” And then there IS. There is light, sky, land, plants, light in the sun, and moon, and the stars, and then animals, and finally humans. It is the speaking that brings forth existence. It is the speaking that creates. Words are where the power is, and the Word contains all the power of God—and yet becomes finite flesh, and pitches his tent among us. God reveals who God is THROUGH God’s Word.  This is the music and poetry of creation. This is why we are told over and over again to SING our praise to God in the psalms. Jesus is God’s song, singing out into the cosmos, ordering and organizing it through God’s message of love, which is inscribed in our very beings. That Word, Jesus, lives among us, sparking our hearts and minds and souls, calling us to join in the conversation that brought all things into being, and be transformed. Alleluia!


(The image accompanying this reflection is from our Advent book, which we will discuss after worship on Sunday in Park Hall—Join us!)


In Christ,

Mother Leslie+

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