Verse 1:Well, I was tested by the tempter, I was tested by the throng. I was burdened with my sorrow and old Satan did me wrong. But when my feet did falter my Saviour heard me pray. He said tell them when you saw me I was on my way.
Chorus: Well, just tell them when you saw me I was on my way. I was climbing up the mountain to the land of endless day. With my face toward the sunrise and the shadows all behiind. Just tell them when you saw me I was on my way.
Verse 2: Now if you should get to Heaven before I see that land. You just listen to the angels and then join that singing band. And when you see my Savior in the land of endless day. Just tell Him when you saw me I was on my way.
Daily Reading & Meditation
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. 9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. 11 He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 15 (John bore witness to him, and cried, “This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'”) 16 And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.
Meditation: Why does John the Evangelist begin his Gospel account with a description of the Word of God and the creation of the universe and humankind? How might the beginning of John’s Gospel be linked with the beginning of the first book of Genesis (John 1:1-3 and Genesis 1:1-3)? The “word of God” was a common expression among the Jews. God’s word in the Old Testament Scriptures is an active, creative, and dynamic word. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Psalm 33:6). “He sends forth his commands to the earth; his word runs swiftly” (Psalm 147:15). “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces” (Jeremiah 23:29)?
The eternal Word leaped down from heaven
The writer of the (deutero-canonical) Book of Wisdom addresses God as the one who “made all things by your word” (Wisdom 9:1). God’s word is also equated with his wisdom. “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth” (Proverbs 3:19). The Book of Wisdom describes “wisdom” as God’s eternal, creative, and illuminating power. Both “word” and “wisdom” are seen as one and the same. “For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command” (deutero-canonical Book of Wisdom 18:14-16).
Truly man and truly God
John describes Jesus as God’s creative, life-giving and light-giving Word that has come to earth in human form. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus is the wisdom and power of God which created the world and sustains it who assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. Jesus became truly man while remaining truly God. “What he was, he remained, and what he was not he assumed” (from an early church antiphon for morning prayer). Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother. From the time of the Apostles the Christian faith has insisted on the incarnation of God’s Son “who has come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2)
Gregory of Nyssa, one of the great early church fathers (330-395 AD) wrote:
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?
Christians never cease proclaiming anew the wonder of the Incarnation. The Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. The Son of God …worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin (Gaudium et Spes).
We become partakers of Christ’s divine nature
If we are going to behold the glory of God we will do it through Jesus Christ. Jesus became the partaker of our humanity so we could be partakers of his divinity (2 Peter 1:4). God’s purpose for us, even from the beginning of his creation, is that we would be fully united with him. When Jesus comes God is made known as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By our being united in Jesus, God becomes our Father and we become his sons and daughters. Do you thank the Father for sending his only begotten Son to redeem you and to share with you his glory?
“Almighty God and Father of light, your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night. Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace.”
1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
13 before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The first-fruits of the Gospels, by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)
“I think that John’s Gospel, which you have enjoined us to examine to the best of our ability, is the first-fruits of the Gospels. It speaks of him whose descent is traced and begins from him who is without a genealogy… The greater and more perfect expressions concerning Jesus are reserved for the one who leaned on Jesus’ breast. For none of the other Gospels manifested his divinity as fully as John when he presented him saying, ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:42), ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:6), ‘I am the resurrection’ (John 11:25), ‘I am the door’ (John 10:9), ‘I am the good shepherd’ (John 10:11)… We might dare say then that the Gospels are the first-fruits of all Scripture but that the first-fruits of the Gospels is that according to John whose meaning no one can understand who has not leaned on Jesus’ breast or received Mary from Jesus to be his mother also.” (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 1.21–23)
|This is the day which ends the past year and the evening which begins the next. Janus, a Roman deity, had two faces, one looking backward and the other forward. Janus was the god of doorways, of transitions, especially in the times of the ending of wars. So Jan-uary is a beginning. Today, with this Eucharistic liturgy, we experience the ending of one year of our lives and the opening of the next.
Our Gospel begins with a “beginning” which actually had no beginning. I know this sounds as if I have lost my way, but that is what it says. The “Word” was always with the Eternal God Who had no before, no starting point. John’s Gospel echoes the first verse of the Book of Genesis in the same way. John’s whole Gospel story of Jesus will echo the creating-God’s laboring to bring light out of darkness, order out of chaos, life out of non-life and honor out of shame.
What we read and hear today are eighteen verses which act as a prelude, a poetic introduction and a hinting of the major themes and events remembered and recorded within the community formed many years after the actual Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Many books have been written about this unique narrative. This Reflection today centers on only one, but extremely important aspect buried within this Prologue. Why did the pre-existent Word become flesh, become visible to “pitch His Tent among us?”
Jesus is come as “Light” into the “darkness.” “Light” is mentioned seven times within the reading of the Gospel for today’s liturgy. “Light” is “Life” for the world, to the world. The first words in the first chapter of Genesis, verse three, are “Let there be light.” The formless is then visible. The whole entirety of our Holy Scriptures and our Faith flows from this very simple creative verse. Creation has to be seen to be known. “Flesh” has to see itself as it is, not merely by itself, but by its Creator. Jesus, as Word and Light, has come into our darkness to enlighten us about who the Creator sees us and all other creatures to be.
Last Wednesday we celebrated, beginning with a liturgy at midnight, how in the darkness a Light had shone. In an instant of time, the Timeless Word took on time to help us see and hear who we are and who we are meant to become. It is a most perfect Gospel for the end of one section of time and the beginning of the next.
This past year we have seen enough of ourselves and each other to know that we need an increase of that Light. We know our human darkness and yet we have seen God’s Light, still pitched among us. The Light remains, inviting us out of our formless chaos into the honor of being “Children of God.” The Light shines, not as a detective, or accuser, but as a Finder, Healer and Savior. Every day, every moment is the continuation of the Old becoming New. Jesus is the timeless resolution, renewed within the moments of our lives. The Old begins something new within each moment of our lives, both this past year and within the year soon to begin. “In the beginning” is always and in all ways, now!
The Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. Deut. 1:31
I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought YOU unto myself. Exo. 19:4
In his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. Isa. 63:9
Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isa. 46:4
This God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. Psa. 48:14
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee. Psa. 55:22
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Matt. 6:25, 32
Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. I Sam. 7:12
There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. Josh. 13:1
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:12
Be ye therefore perfect Matt. 5:48
Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. II Pet. 1:5-7
I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. Phil. 1:9
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit. I Cor. 2:9, 10
There remaineth … a rest for the people of God. Heb. 4:9
Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. Isa. 33:17