“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … Through Him all things were made.”
These familiar yet powerful words open the gospel of John. As we enter into the new liturgical year this Advent, looking forward to the coming of that Word as an infant in a manger, I would like to offer a series of reflections on the theme of “Word.” They are based on a series I did for Advent-Epiphany 2002-2003 when Senior Warden at Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia.
First of all, God and His Word are intimately connected. God spoke, and brought forth the Creation. He spoke most powerfully through sending Jesus, the Word made flesh. He continues to speak through His Word in Scripture and through His Spirit, called by the Creed the “giver of life.” Indeed a prime feature of God’s Word is that it is creative and brings forth life. This is true both of the amazingly fruitfulness of Creation and of the transformation and healing that God’s saving Word brings to our individual lives.
One of the most far-reaching revolutions in thinking in the contemporary sciences is to view the world in terms of information and its transformations. Loosely speaking, information concerns how the world is organized into complex, meaningful patterns instead of randomness. In the biological sciences, this view hinges around the realization that information is at the center of life. For example, every cell in your body contains the DNA that functions like a very complex instruction book that guides what goes on in the cell. Studies of the human genome lay out the details in our DNA like a vast encyclopedia of words. In the view of contemporary biology, we are, in a sense more literal than figurative, embodied words. Perhaps this is part of what it means for humankind to be created in the image and likeness of God. Each one of us is in a real sense a unique “word” from him. One of the most amazing things about being human is how God’s creative and life-giving Word speaks to us and enables us to respond. As we reflect on the coming of the Word made flesh, perhaps we should consider how the “word” within us can respond to His Word and engender new life.
This is number 1 of 9 in the Advent-Epiphany “Word” series. >Next