In the Beginning: A Homily, in Verse, for the Nativity of Our Lord

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Preacher’s note: This is a sermon for which you’ll want to listen along, as there are audio elements not included in the manuscript.


Augustana Lutheran Church
25 December 2016 + Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Day)
John 1.1-14



In the beginning—
no, before the beginning—
before the beginning
when God sat alone
in the murky abyss and the cosmic swirl:
There was
nothing.

Then in the beginning—
at the very beginning:
Let there be light!
Let there be sun
and moon and stars!
Let there be waters and fish,
and sky and birds,
and dry land and every creeping thing that creeps upon the ground!

Then at the beginning:
Let us create humankind in our image.
So in the image of God
God created them.
Male and female
and intersex and transgender
and gender non-binary
God created them.

And it was all very good.


Shootings
and protests
and war
and bombs
and deadly attacks.

Paradise lost.

Did God really say…?
The woman gave it to me…
The serpent tricked me…
Am I my brother’s keeper?

Creation undone,
and a promised flood
to destroy the world
that God had made.

Still: a promised Messiah
that would one day be born.

Still: violence and bloodshed
and oppression
and injustice
and neglect of the poor.

How long, O Lord?
…was the psalmist’s cry.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest…
…was the prophet’s call.

Let justice roll down!
Let justice roll down!
Let justice roll down!


In the beginning—
indeed, before the beginning,
during the beginning,
and for all time—
was the Word,
with God,
is God.

In the beginning
was the Word,
the spark of life
that brought all things
into being:
Let there be light!

Light which no darkness can overcome.
Ever.

Praise the one who breaks the darkness!

The reign of God has come near!

Praise the one who frees the prisoners!
Praise the one who preached the gospel!
Praise the one who drove out demons!
Praise the one who brings cool water!

Praise the one who breaks the darkness!

Praise the one who birthed creation—
creation restoring,
creation renewing.

Praise the one true love incarnate:
The Word became flesh
and lived among us.

The Word became flesh,
became human,
became vulnerable,
became subject to pain
and stress
and grief
and emotional overload:

The Word lived among us,
the promise of a new chapter,
a new beginning,
the inevitability of dawn,
and the guarantee
to be with us, always, in the meantime.

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