One of the great things about our five15 service is the ability to play. We play liturgically, we play musically, we play homeletically, and this week we'll play with the lectionary. Since we used the lessons for Christmas Day on the 26th, we'll combine lessons for Christmas 1 and 2 so that we get a chance to hear and play around with the prologue to John's Gospel.
I decided to go this route while I was reading this week's Gospel Commentary at workingpreacher.org. Ginger Barfield, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC, wrote elegantly about the role of the John (the Witness) in the larger story based on a panel of altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald.
What I love about this piece (which is from the Wikipedia Commons and out of copyright) is how seemingly normal John looks. Sure he's got a pretty big beard, but he's not wearing camel hair and eating wild locusts; he could be any of us. Any of us who chooses to spend their whole life, even to the point of death, pointing to Jesus. John, the evangelist, is clear that John, the witness, was not the light, but pointed to the light. So too should we be doing the same thing, pointing away from ourselves and toward the one who we serve; Jesus, God's Logos, who moved into the neighborhood.
The conversation around this needs more work before Saturday evening, but that's ok, for today, I'm content to sit with Matthias Grunewald while I ponder how I might better point to Jesus.