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. (John 1:6-9)

Tuesday 14 February 2017

It is a beautiful truth at the heart of St John’s teaching that God is love, and that love goes out to everyone in the world. [1]  We find that idea of love ringing throughout these verses. St John describes Christ as ‘the true light, which enlightens everyone.’  In other words, Christ shines his light onto everyone; he loves everyone. Moreover, everyone has the potential to respond to his love and grace. The great early church father, St John Chrysostom (yes, another John!) put it like this: ‘grace is shed forth upon all, turning its back on no one … but admitting all alike and inviting all equally.[2]

This poses a serious challenge for all of us: what are we doing with the light God has given us? God’s goodness to us in Christ calls for us to respond with faith, repentance and love for others.  This is the true motivation for our lives as Christians. We share the light we have found in Christ with the world not because we want people in our club or want bigger churches but because we want to express the same love and concern for others that Christ does.

We can respond in two ways. First, by drawing close to Christ, pursuing him and regularly spending time with him throughout the day. Why not try praying for a couple of minutes in the morning, at lunch and in the evening? As we do so, we experience Christ as the Word, the Logos, the most important organising principle of our lives. Second by including our villages, towns, neighbours, coffee-shop staff, school-teachers in our prayers. Then, as we go through life with them, we can love and help them to respond to the light shone upon them by Christ.

Here’s a prayer we could pray:

Lord, thank you for your goodness to me. Help me to turn away from everything that is contrary to your will for me. Help me to show those I meet today love and grace so that they too might respond to your love. I particularly pray for [INSERT NAMES]. May they know your goodness and grace in all that they face and come to love you as Lord of all. In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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[1] Compare 1 John 4:8.

[2] Homilies on the Gospel of John 8.1 cited in Elowsky, Joel A., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament Vol. IVA, commenting on John 1:9.