John 1:1 “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God.”

Christmas Day is not half over and already many people are exhibiting symptoms of the “post-nativity” depression! Needles are dropping from trees that were cut in July and put up at Thanksgiving. Scraps of wrapping paper and ribbon peep out from under furniture. Our clothing is tighter around the waistline and we are almost sick from the excess of the Christmas feast. We are like the little boy who unwrapped package after package on Christmas morning. Finally sitting up to his chin in wrapping paper and bows asked, “Is this all?”


The Third Proper (sets of readings) for Christmas are not of mangers and shepherds, but the cosmic hymn of the mysteriously glorious origin of the Son of God recorded in prologue to St. John’s Gospel. To see what John is up to here we need to go back to the beginning of the Hebrew Scriptures. Genesis 1:1 is usually translated from the Hebrew into English as, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” A more descriptive English translation can be found in Everett Fox’s brilliant translation of the Five Books of Moses. Here Genesis 1:1 goes like this, “At the beginning of God’s creating of the heavens and the earth.” Here the emphasis in on process and the sense is more verb than noun. The Hebrew word is “Dabhar,” which can be legitimately be translated, “creative energy.”

It is no accident that this is the very language that John uses in the prologue to his Gospel. “In the beginning was the WORD,” says John. Here word is not a noun so much as verb. We could accurately say, “In the beginning was the Creative Energy: the Creative Energy was with God and the Creative Energy was God. The creative energy was with God in the beginning. Through the Creative Energy all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through the Creative Energy. Through the Creative Energy all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through the Creative Energy. All that came to be had life in the Creative Energy and that life was the light of humanity . . .. The Creative Energy was made flesh, it pitched its tent among us, and we saw its glory, the glory as is his as the only Son of God, full of grace and full of truth.”

Here is the deepest mystery of the Christian faith! How can this be? How is it possible that God has come among us becoming authentically human? Yet this is the core belief of our faith. We have been thinking, reflecting and fighting about how this is so ever since.

H. Richard Niebuhr spoke to this mystery when he said, “Jesus Christ is not a median figure, half-God, half-man; He is a single person wholly directed as man toward God and wholly directed in his unity with the Father toward man. He mediatorial not median!”

Let us reflect on this glorious mystery.




1. Jesus is fully human, wholly directed as a human man toward God. There was no alienation, no sin, between Jesus as a man and God as creator and Father. The alienation that has existed between humanity and God since Eden is overcome in the person of Jesus, the Son of God. It is essential to realize that all that Jesus accomplished as a human on earth was not accomplished through his divinity! The acts of Jesus, his preaching, his teaching, and his healing were done through his human obedience to God NOT because he was God! Thus he demonstrates for us what we are intended to be, authentically human.

2. Jesus is wholly directed in his unity with the father toward humanity. The important thing to say here is not that Jesus is like God, but rather to say that God is like Jesus. God, of course, is totally outside the realm of our understanding. As John says, “No one has ever seen God.” God is not playing hide and sick with us, it is just not possible to experience God the creator directly. Traces of transcendence are revealed in creation, but that is not enough to intuit God adequately. So in the fullness of time God’s son appeared, so that we believe we can now know who God is. So when someone asks, “what is God like?” The answer for Christians is, “God is like Jesus.”

The incarnation is good news because by the coming of God’s son in the flesh heaven and earth are joined and the alienation between God and humanity is overcome. Our God has acted! Alienation is overcome by LOVE! The incarnation changes everything. There is nothing so broken; nothing so jaded; nothing so twisted that it cannot be made new.”

  •  What happened in Bethlehem of Judea on that day when the calendar moved from one to one, there being no day zero
  • The Creative Energy: the Word has become flesh, the One who forgave those who crucified him, forgives us.
  • The Word who was baptized in the Jordan comes to us in our Baptism and claims us as his own.
  • The Eucharistic elements of bread and wine are more than mere bread and wine. Here the Word become flesh, broken on the cross, comes to us in the broken bread.
  • The same Word become flesh, drank the cup of suffering, comes to us in the cup of wine: the cup of salvation.
  • As the Word of God became flesh in Jesus, the Christ, so the truth of the Good News of that same Christ should become flesh in our lives.

 We are to go from here to be for those in world what this Word become flesh is for us. That is what it means to be the Church, the Body of Christ. The creative energy of God has come and dwelt among us and behold all things shall be made new! The Ideal and the Real here unite in the Actual. Is this all there is? Yes, and it is sufficient.

Merry Christmas! Amen.




Christ in Judgement – John De Rosen at Saint John’s Memphis, TN

December 29, 2013

I want to begin with the Mural behind you on the tower wall.  On the left you see an angel with a book held above his head. You might think this is the book of life, but, in fact it is the Book of Knowledge.  Inscribed on the Book of Knowledge is Albert Einstein’s last equation.  Over sixty years ago when John De Rosen painted this  mural this equation marked the edge of human speculation on the nature of reality.  It turns out that this equation is incorrect.  Yes, our Book of Knowledge is in error.  That seems appropriate, somehow.

I WILL BEGIN WITH the language of Quantum Physics and move to the Readings for Today.  I believe that Quantum Physics and John’s Poetic Prologue speak to the same reality!!!

Thomas Young

Thomas Young

Albert Eeinstein

Albert Einstein

Quantum Mechanics

  •    In the late 19th century,  Thomas Young found that light  is a wave.
  •    In 1905 Einstein discovered that light is also a particle.

This was a terrible dilemma.  What do you do with contradictory evidence?  There were two options:

 If this had the church we would have formed rival groups, the Particularians and the Waveites,  accused each other of heresy and carefully decided who was in and who was out. They could accept one set of evidence and reject the other.  What they did do was hold on to the evidence and look for a way to explain the paradox. [A statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd but that may actually be true in fact.]  It took 25 years to sort out but Quantum theory now tells us that light is not particle or wave but rather, BOTH particle AND wave. Reality is actually richer than we had imagined.

Now consider the poetic language that John uses in the prologue to the Gospel that bears his name. We will look at the Gospel reading but before that lets go back to the beginning.  Biblical Poetic Language  Now turn with me to the Gospel reading for this morning.

Please forgive me for stating the obvious but the whole thing begins in Genesis 1:1-2.


I’m reading from the Schocken Bible a translation by Everett Fox,  “At the beginning of God’s creating of the heavens and the earth, when the earth was wild and waste, darkness over the face of Ocean, rushing-spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters – God said: Let there be light!  And there was light.”  Fox’s translates Hebrew to English retaining the rhythm of the Hebrew language.

Let us then  consider God as Noun and Verb, Particle and Wave.

Notice the verb in relation to the Incarnation.  In the collect: ALMIGHY GOD, you have poured upon the NEW light of your incarnate WORD. In Isaiah, “You shall be called by a New Name (noun) that the God will give.  God restores things that are fallen and have grown old.  God does new things!  As a way of speaking about this creative and playful aspect of God,  someone has said that God’s favorite practical joke was old women getting pregnant!

  • Old Women getting pregnant!   Sarah, Rebecca, Samuel’s  momma & Sampson’s.
  •  Behold, I am doing a new thing.  A Virgin shall conceive and bear a son!
  •  Note the annunciation mural,   Here Mary sits amid dry and arid stone, yet as Gabriel speaks to her   the word of God the ground around her bursts into flower.

 The energy of New Light of thing incarnate – The wave of New Light becomes an incarnate particle.   Isaiah    For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden cause what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. …  You shall be given a new name.  Do you hear the train a’coming!

The energy of the uncreated light is the same energy that makes the desert bloom and the virgin conceive! Here we see the train a’coming.  In John’s Prologue, WORD is better translated: CREATIVE ENERGY. Read aloud with me. … For the creative entergy was  with God and the Creative Energy was with God and the Creative Energy was God The light Incarnate is wave and particle!

The Church is also Wave and Particle, noun and verb!

We do know that the nature of matter is not object or wave it is both!.  Embracing this paradox is what Richard Rohr “non-dual” thinking – moving beyond a either/or to a yes/and

Church is both noun and verb – particle and wave

Note how the “Body of Christ” functions.   We are the gathered people of God in a particular place, at a certain time, to worship God (because God is worthy) and to encounter the Risen Jesus in the breaking bread, through the Power of the Holy Spirit and then having been fed with bread we move from noun to verb, go out into the world to be bread for those who are starving for what we just become.

If we have been fed be bread!

Do you see beloved?  The Renewal Works is simply a way of thinking for us as we open our hearts and minds to the light of God’s grace and love. This process is to help us get clear about our place in the economy of heaven, the physics of grace!  If we have been fed then let us be bread!