The Word Made Flesh

This Illumination from Saint John’s Bible was chosen for the Great Preacher Award. It seems especially fitting. Christ is the light of the world. One of the tasks of the Preacher is to make God’s incarnation real for us – to “show us Jesus” so that we might come to know Him and follow Him and become transformed into His image. As St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans 10:14, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”  The dominant text at the top of the image comes from the Prologue of John’s Gospel, 1:1-14, and the lengthy cursive text, to the side of the golden figure is taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians 1:15-20.  The Colossians text expands on the announcement in John that the Word became flesh and lived among us.  It links the theology of reconciliation with the crucifixion and resurrection and with the story of creation and the final judgment:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations or rulers or powers—all were created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making piece through the blood of his cross.”

This image of Christ steps out of the darkness of chaos. To the far left of the image is a keyhole. Christ (and the preacher) unlocks the Word of the Lord. Recall how Christ speaks to us in the Book of Revelation 3:20:  “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”