I have been told I have blue eyes. I know I have seen their reflection and pictures of them, but I have never really seen my own eyes. Out of my eyes I see the world, which is interpreted through the lenses of my eyes and the processing of my brain. Together, they give me an understanding of the world and help me to see what my role is within the world. However, no matter how good or bad the light is, I need some light to make my eyes work.
Without light, I cannot see. In some ways I am lucky when it comes to light. Being northern European through ancestry, my genetically altered blue eyes have been adapted to give me a keen ability to see with just a fraction of light. Though on an overcast night with no light source at all, my world is as dark as everyone else’s and no matter how hard I try, until I find some light source my eyes are useless.
In the creation narrative found in John 1 we see for the first time that Christ is integral to both the creation and development of the world. He has always been there, but the world did not know him. Interestingly, this is the only biblical glimpse into the pre-earthly life of Christ and is the only gospel to place Christ in full divinity with God. We will come back to that at a later date, but the creating and Christ’s role within it is very similar to Psalm 19 that we read last week.
The two symbols both the psalm and John 1 touch on is word and light. Interestingly, setting aside taste and smell, the writers are bringing creation down to a sensory level as if existence itself was all about what we see and what we hear. This makes sense, especially as thinking people discern the oldest question in the world “how did we get here?”
Rooted in the senses of sight and sound shows us that the community’s interest in the creation of the world was not as connected to the how, but the why. This is in contrast to the Genesis 1 story that is trying to scientifically establish creation, but that is a topic for another day. For the people of Christ’s time, the world they were in was neither comfortable nor understandable. Though “free” they were not, their enslavement to an unjust government meant their persecution as well the unfairness that comes from being dominated by another culture.
This brought people more to a curiosity about why God would even embark on creation if it was to be so corrupt. This then hits the essential question and reason for making sure that Christ was at creation, since God created the world for good and Christ’s hands were part of creation itself, then it is us that take creation, exploit it, and create the evils we face.
This means that when Christ comes into the world in which he created, for the first time people can see for themselves God. But we still have a choice about what we do with that; unfortunately, we know the choice that is made, rejection. Though even in our rejection, God gives us the grace once again to be full.
It is interesting that throughout the whole existence of the world, God and Christ are present, though often we choose to reject or set aside that vision. Often, like our eyes, we take God for granted. We may know God is there, but only really miss God when we cannot see. For the people in Christ’s time it was hard for them to see God, to know God, even though God had always been there. Moreover, when we open our eyes and ears, we can see and hear his fullness.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen