“Follow in his footsteps”

Gospel – John 1:1-14

Sermon – Rev Kate McFarlane

‘Tomorrow will be a good day…..Tomorrow will be a good day.’ Those words which were taken to be the title of Captain Sir Tom’s book had an immense impact, didn’t they, repeated and reproduced everywhere from the front pages of newspapers to the windows of children’s homes. Those few words spoke hope into a time of fear…. light in dark days. Powerful words.

And the power of the word is at the heart of today’s Gospel in one of our most famous and the most beautiful passages: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ God’s whole purpose, from the beginning of creation, has been to communicate, to speak to us, his people; to speak through his wildly abundant and beautiful world; to speak through our human history and the wisdom of the ages, through human minds and reason, through the words written in our holy books, and through the lives and example of good and generous people.

And above all, beyond all other languages in which God has spoken, God spoke to us through Jesus; ‘The Word became flesh and lived among us.’ In the person of Jesus, the Gospel tells us, ‘we see God’s glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth…grace and truth’. In Jesus God speaks to us of grace, which is the unimaginably generous love which God shows to the unlovely, the unregarded, and to those who feel themselves unworthy of any love; and the all-embracing peace which God offers to those who are restless, grieving and lost.

And in Jesus God speaks to us of truth; of who God really is and who we truly are; God’s beloved children. This is God’s Word to us.

There is something crucial to understand here; the ‘Word became flesh’ – God’s love was spoken, in the person of Jesus, but that wasn’t the end of God’s speaking to us. God’s word is spoken again, and again and again, whenever we embody that same love.

As we mourn Captain Sir Tom, we give thanks for the way his words and actions spoke encouragement and kindness into these times of enormous anxiety and division. He was a truly remarkable man who did publicly and wonderfully what many others amongst us are also inspired to do; glimpsing possibilities and opportunities where others see only restrictions and problems; proclaiming reasons to be thankful and hopeful while others complain or despair, and asking; ‘what can I do to make a difference?’ and doing it. May we all walk in his footsteps!

Captain Sir Tom was able to speak the language of love to the whole world from the confines of his own garden. God longs for this same language of love to be heard from every one of us, wherever we are, whatever our restrictions. God’s Word can become flesh in you and in me, today, tomorrow, this week. God longs for us to communicate that same grace and truth which Jesus speaks; the utter love of God for all people and the all-encompassing peace of God offered to those who feel lost; the truth of who God really is and the truth of who we are.

And so I pray; may we hear God’s Word, may we receive God’s Word; may we be God’s Word in our world – so that today, and tomorrow, and all our tomorrows may truly be good days.