Book of Kells: John I mentioned yesterday that I was starting to think about Advent, and I’ve made some bit of progress in what I think I would like to frame for the upcoming season. I’ve always been a bit sad that John’s gospel (it being my favorite and therefore the chief among the evangelists) doesn’t factor more prominently in the Christmas story. The image here is the introduction to John from the Book of Kells. Based on these few recent and not-so-recent thoughts, the series I am working on for the Advent season is arranged around the prologue to John’s gospel… my utmost favorite passage. Strand me on a desert island, but leave me these eighteen verses. I’m curious if anyone is talking or thinking about Advent blogging very much yet… and wonder if anyone is interested in blogging John’s prologue through Advent. If so, I’ll provide an outline if you like — I’m currently plugging away at a series, and hope to have it ready as an ebook download in time for Advent (pray for me!). I won’t likely be sticking to a single translation (and I’ve been known to rate a translation on how it handles John’s prologue) but read contemplatively through John’s prologue, here presented stripped of the verse notations from the Jerusalem Bible:

In the beginning was the Word:
the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower.

A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.

The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men;
and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world
that had its being through him,
and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh
or will of man
but of God himself.
The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.

John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
“This is the one of whom I said:
He who comes after me
ranks before me
because he existed before me.”

Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received—
yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses,
grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God;
it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,
who has made him known.

These are the things I’m thinking upon this week. You can’t really begin to appreciate John’s prologue unless you understand it first as a poem, which is why I love the way the Jerusalem Bible lays it out here, retaining a poetic character to it (mouse over the underlined text for the JB margin note). Many believe that this was actually an early Christian hymn… how I would love to hear it sung!

Share This

Share this post with your friends!