Today I've been writing my 'John's Portrait of Jesus' sermon, which uses as its its jumping off point the prologue to the Fourth Gospel (John 1:1 - 18). I had a lovely time playing with my commenatries and even my Greek Testment, discovering the way in which the word 'word' might have been understood all those years ago and how God's word 'does what it says' in Genesis 1 (not sure I'd ever quite grasped that before (no this is not a myth/literal debate, just the idea that a word did more than simply express a thought)).
I had a lovely time finding all the seven signs and (re-)discovering that with one exception (healing the man born blind) they were done without contact, five being by command and the other (walking on water) involving an unpredicated ego eimi (woo, she knows the phrases!). The power of word as doing what it says shines through. I'd never before thought about why John doesn't have Jesus making the same physical contact that say, Luke, does with sick and dead people, or even bread, but now I get it (I think).
I got all excited, then I thought about my congregation and realised that I was incapable of expressing this in words - not because they are dense but because it's all a bit technical and far away from their experience. Then a moment of revelation (hee hee, good Johannine theme) - I have to incarnate what I want to share: the excitement of the word becoming flesh and revealing the glory of God is something I have to try to 'be' on Sunday.
When I was training, one of my tutors after coming to see me preach comented that I was very serious and never smiled - not the person they were used to seeing in college at all. Well, there were reasons... Anyway, they also said - and it has obviously stuck with me - that I am the face of Jesus people see on a Sunday. This is part of what I want to get across this Sunday, that (in the words of Paul) "you are the body of Christ" and the word needs to be lived daily so that people we meet may encounter Christ in us.
I don't think the sermon as written is my greatest ever - it has been a slog - but I pray that my excitement at discovering more of the riches of this gospel (which, let's face it isn't my favourite) and another bit of support for James 2:26b will not get lost in translation.