Meditations, Reflections, Bible Studies, and Sermons from Kowloon Union Church  

“A life of light and love”

A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on Sunday 4 January 2015, Second Sunday after Christmas, by the Rev. Phyllis Wong. The scripture readings that day were Jeremiah 31:7-14; John 1:1-18.

Opening prayer:

God of light, may your word enlighten us to enter into your grace and to understand your truth in Christ.  Holy spirit, please come and inspire us. Amen.

In the last few weeks we have heard gospel stories about baby Jesus, of his birth and presentation to God as the first born child in his family.

Jesus has been regarded as the son of God, a savior sent by God to the world in the form of a baby.

In Gospel John, the author tried to address Jesus’ divinity and his divine identity as God’s son who breaks into the world.

Jesus was regarded as the Word.  The Word became flesh. He is with God and Life of the world.  He is the light of all people; shines in the darkness and enlightens everyone.

John 1:1-18 is a beautiful hymn which consists of rich theological meanings about God the Father and the very essence of Jesus Christ.

This prologue has been widely suggested by commentaries as a later addition to affirm the identity of Jesus Christ as God’s son and being with God right at the beginning before the world was formed.

In the Gospel of John, the authors asserted very clearly Jesus’ divine being and his close connection with God the Father. Jesus Christ, a full human being and full divine being came to the world to love and save, and to reveal God’s glory.

I would like to share some insights taken from reading according to the Gospel of John we heard this morning.

The Word became flesh. God, holy and divine, became flesh and lived among us through Jesus Christ. It is very ground breaking and radical move of God. In God’s action, we see the grace and truth of God’s salvation in Christ. God’s love is very down to earth. God does not just talk but walk with his people. God does not just speak but act and participate fully.

God has taken initiative to love, heal and save.  It is this God who approach us and invite us to reconnect with God’s eternality through Jesus Christ. God has never forsaken us. God never gives up the world even when his people turn away from him and do not receive the light.

With this unconditional and unfailing love, we should not give up; rather, we should receive the light of Christ and renew our life in God. 

In coming to the world sharing our humanity, God had inevitably experienced limitations and constraints in human life. But God dared to let go of his power.  

The text informed us a harsh reality:  “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him… and his people did not accept him” (1:10-11) We see then God has taken risk of being rejected. God has put himself in a vulnerable position. Although God knows that he will be rejected, out of love, God is willing to do so.

God’s courageous move has empowered us to take risk in our life for the sake of love.  

Treat one another equally

Jesus, who was life, was the light of all people (v4). He is the true light that enlightens everyone (v9). It gives a clear message: God loves everyone, even those who reject him. 
God treats everyone equally. Everyone is given equal opportunity. We are all loved by God. We have no reason to discriminate against others. It is wrong to reject people who are different from us and marginalize the disadvantaged and the weak.

Be Hopeful and strong

God became flesh allows us to see the divine in human.
The breaking in of divinity into humanity has indicated God’s strong desire to make connection with humans. God has broken the boundary that prevents human beings from being united with God. The divine in human is a lavish gift and a great promise from God.

God has invited us to receive him and reconnect with the divine God.

God does not force us to comply, but give us freedom to choose. But are we wise and brave enough to make the right choice?

Are we ready to let go of our own ego and receive Jesus Christ as our savior and allow him to live in us?

If you are full of questions and worries in receiving Jesus Christ and find it hard to take him to your heart, remember that for those who determine to accept Jesus Christ, God will give them power and strength to overcome darkness. As assured by the word of God, let us hear again these verses from Gospel John

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 or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

A complicated world we are living

The world we are living is full of uncertainty, destruction, violence and wars, hatred and division. The missing Malaysian airplane, the rise of extremist militants, the increasing number of refugees and migrant workers, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, global warming and climate change, job insecurity, broken relationships …the list seems endless. All these world-wide and personal issues offer us not good future, but worries, anxieties and fears.  

It is the incarnated Christ who is the son of God closely connected to the divine Creator, source of life and light, that gives us hope. God who breaks into human history will take care of us and never leave us alone.

The breaking in of Jesus Christ in the form of human being also gives us new imagination. Nothing is impossible in God. The transforming power in God and with God give us hope: change is possible.

Jesus’ life and ministries on earth has shown us how the incarnated God worked in the world. He healed the sick and opened the eyes of the blind. He received the marginalized and accepted them as part of the community. He also suffered, died and rose again.

 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. (1:18) Jesus was witness of God.

For those who have experienced the love of Jesus Christ are willing to share with others the love of God.

For those who have believed in Jesus Christ and received him have become God’s children. They follow God’s will and God’s way. It has been these children of God who continue to share the good news of God’s incarnation and his loving salvation.

I remembered a friend. His name is David. He had been a drug addict for over 20 years. Even his family had given up and separated from him. When he was so sick and desperate struggling in the hospital, a group of Christians visited him, bought him hot soup, sang hymns for him and shared with him about God’s love. David was deeply touched by these Christians. He experienced God’s healing love and forgiving grace through these Christians.   He saw God in them. These Christians have revealed God’s glory in their loving acts.

Mother Theresa who had tirelessly serving the poor and the very sick people in Calcutta India had revealed God’s glory in her compassionate acts.

Before Jesus left the earth and returned to heaven, he told his disciples to do what he had done and even greater than what he did.

As Jesus’ followers, the incarnated Christ today calls us to continue his mission by affirming once again his unique identity of God’s son who is the light of world dwelling in us full of grace and truth.

Dear sisters and brothers, in the beginning of a new year, shall we formulate our resolution by focusing our life in Jesus Christ and to declare that we are God’s children who have been given power to be the light of the world and manifest God’s glory?

This is an invitation from a loving God who breaks into humanity for our life and for our world.

May the light of Christ shine and guide each one of us and our church to make a right and wise decision. Amen. 

# posted by Heddy Ha : Sunday, January 04, 2015

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