Everyone and everything seeks to express itself. If we humans are knowledgeable about something, we want to share our words of delight and enthusiasm with others.
Nature expresses its beauty as it bursts forth in the glory of spring. Powerful nations parade their weapons around as an expression of their prowess. Lovers, above all, want to express that feeling to each other.
Even God, the great mystery beyond all comprehension, seeks expression of His love and light to a universe that is otherwise lost in darkness.
After 16 years of nearly daily religious education, followed by 50 years of living the life of a church-going Christian, it somehow never came up about what the Word of God means. Indeed, many of these commonly used religious terms just seem to be taken for granted that we all understand them, simply because we hear and say them all the time.
So, I am going to take a stab at figuring this one out myself. I’m going to suggest that the Word of God refers to God’s effort to express whatever God is … to those who will listen.
In the beginning
Curiously, in what has long been known as the Last Gospel (John 1:1-14), the writer talks about the beginning: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Let’s just think about that for a moment: God is God, the description of which is beyond our comprehension. God is, was and always will be. God is not just another entity we can point at. God is above all entities, the dimension that all other dimensions depend on.
This Word that we are trying to understand was not only with God in all time but actually is God. Thinking literally, one cannot separate the Word of God from God himself, any more than we can be separated from our words. Our words in many ways define who we are.
What happened to the Word?
Moving along in John’s Gospel: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” I take this to mean that God’s Word came to Earth in the flesh of a human being in order for God to express himself to us. Of course, we know that flesh to belong to Jesus.
God the Father wanted to express himself to mankind, but he didn’t choose to do it directly using His own vocal cords, so to speak, except apparently to Moses and John the Baptist from the burning bush and the clouds above.
Instead, God sent Jesus as his Word. Thus, when Jesus speaks, it is the Word of God that Jesus is speaking. It is God’s word present in Jesus.
What’s the big deal?
You might, indeed, ask, “What’s the big deal.” Well, to believe what I am trying to describe above is quite different than thinking that Jesus was just speaking his own words in an effort to describe his deep understanding of God. No, Jesus was speaking the Word of God himself, in a language we could understand.
How to think of this at Christmastime
Imagine if we were told that someone who was the embodiment of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and Abraham Lincoln put together was going to appear on a given day near us with the words of resolution to all of the problems of America and the world. Would we make ourselves available? Would we listen to these words with interest? Would we take to heart what this composite quintessential statesman advised and commanded?
I believe we would, and how much more would we do so if we were shockingly enabled to directly hear the Word of the Almighty God?
Well, pay attention, because the Word of God is coming to your church, your old familiar church, beginning on Christmas Day. The only question this time around is, “Will we finally be listening and acting accordingly?”