“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In former times the inside of church buildings were covered with pictures that told Bible stories, such as the painting above by Fra Angelico, located in the San Marco church, Florence, Italy. It tells the story of the transfiguration of Jesus. Theologians are fond of saying that pictures were used because the people were illiterate and could not read. Perhaps some theologians are illiterate because all they know are words as abstractions.
The 800,000 words of the Bible are one event, distilled into many stories. That’s how real people live and do theology. We inhabit stories, seamlessly, then we struggle to make the story known. If you were asked to say what you believe, you would not recite disembodied facts. You would tell your story.
Before anything was made the Word was. That’s a Bible story. How do you tell your children about the Word within and beyond all words, the Word that was and is and will be? Words always want to go to where they were before the words. All the tenses are senses that precede the words, like someone who pushes a child on a swing, or someone who pushes ink onto paper, or Someone who speaks and something is created out of nothing. What matters is the mind, the power, the reality behind, beneath, in, under and with the words and the event.
Events are words and words are events. That’s biblical. The Word in the flesh, the Word in Baptism, the Word in Holy Communion, the Word in Gospel speaking are events of the Word. They are one Word. They are spoken events, spoken against abstraction, God expressing Himself, making the story of your life and the story of Jesus one, interpreted by grace and truth.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”