24. April 2018

Sermon on December 25th, 2017

Sermon: Gerhard Weissenbrunner

John 1, 1-14                          Light into the Dark

Many know the fundraiser action „Licht ins Dunkel“. Since 1978, the campaign takes place on television. On Christmas Eve, the ORF will be presenting a 14-hour television program, which will ask for donations for welfare and disability projects in Austria.

The 2.2 million viewers donate about 5.7 million euros this evening.
It is certainly a good action. Many get the support they need. In addition, the name is ingenious: „Light into the dark“. He suggests that my donation brings some light to this dark world. In addition, I can expect that a human, even if I do not know him, is happy about my donation. Moreover, maybe even shines about it.
However, if we are honest, we have to admit that this action does not really bring light into the darkness. It’s just a catchword that suggests something that it cannot fulfill. Just as a bank with the slogan „with us human beings counts“ advertises customers. Or, an insurance claims, „we insure life“. Or the Chamber of Commerce thinks „the economy is doing well, so people are doing well“. Or the supermarkets promise that „shopping“ makes you happy.

Who really believes that these slogans are meant to be honest? Everyone knows that banks, insurance or business people are out for nothing. If you have no money, you do not belong to your target group! Moreover, it’s not just advertising that makes us crazy. We ourselves imagine something. We lie and cheat ourselves. We live in a world of illusions. But what should we do. We know it, but we cannot do it better.
Recently a good friend said to me: „We are privileged! We live well. We eat well, we live well, and we are reasonably healthy. We have enough. We enjoy life. We can afford what we need. We should be grateful! „I answered without thinking,“ yes. That’s true!“
Today I am angry about my stupid approval. Because, we are not privileged. We think we are rich, but we are poor. We live spiritually in a illusory world. We are looking forward to the lights of the Christmas lights. We enjoy the lights in the shop windows and in the streets. And we know exactly, if there is no business around the corner, it will be dark.

The light that we humans can make does not shine far. As the beam of a flashlight loses itself in the darkness, so does our light in the darkness. A human does not need to grow old to recognize it. We live in the dark. The world lives in the dark.
We are afraid in the dark!

When we celebrate Christmas today, there is only one real, deep reason for joy. This is the birth of Jesus, the Christ. He brings light into the darkness.
In the prologue to the Gospel of John, we have read (V.4-5): “In Jesus was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness could not extinguish it. And (v. 9) “he was the true light that enlightens every man – the light that should come into the world.”

Spiritually, we live in two worlds. One is the illusory or shadow world with its miserable, weak imitations. The other is the real, eternal, invisible world. It is the world of eternal truth. Our desire addresses this eternal, honest and real world. After it, we have desires in the deepest of our heart.

Jesus Christ makes this real and eternal world recognizable to us. He is the window to reality.
The Gospel of John seeks to prove to us, in particular, Jesus‘ origin and glory through his actions.

– First at the wedding to Canaan (Jn.2.1-12): he suddenly turns water into wine. In good wine. God can do that!

– Or in the healing of a blind-born (John 9): Jesus saw a man who was born blind. He said to his disciples, „I am the light of the world.“ After saying that, he spat on the earth, made a porridge out of it, and smeared the porridge on the eyes of the blind man. And he said to him, ”Go to the pond of Siloah – that is translated: sent – and wash yourself! Therefore, he went, washed himself, and came again seeing for the first time.

– Or in the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11, 1-45): Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus and said: “Lift the stone away! Speak to him Martha, sister of the deceased: “Lord, he stinks already; because he has been lying for four days. Jesus said to her, „Did not I tell you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God? And Jesus cried in a loud voice, „Lazarus, come out!“ And the deceased came out.

Jesus speaks: „I am the resurrection and the life!“

– Or the feeding of the 4,000, and another time the 5,000. With a few fish and breads, everyone was full. Jesus is: „the bread of life!“

Jesus Christ represents the glory of God. He is light, resurrection, bread, life, truth, the good shepherd, the door, etc. forever and for all men.

The Gospel of John begins with the reference to the creative word. In the beginning was the Word“. Jesus Christ was the word. The Greeks called it the „logos“.
The „Logos“ has an extraordinarily wide range of meaning and means translated: reason, order, rules, law, knowledge, thought, and meaning – the Logos controls everything. In a very broad sense, the guiding force of the Logos is the Word, the reason of God.

This reason of God dwells in man too. It may well be more or less filled in, but it is inside of us. It is the reason of God that makes us rational beings. That we can recognize what the truth is. That we can distinguish between good and evil.
The reason of God is a force that causes order and orientation in us, not chaos. In his reason, God approaches people. You no longer need to grope and guess in the dark.
The reason of God comes to us in Jesus and wants to be close to us. We no longer need to escape into cheap excuses, lazy lies, and invented stories. Before Jesus, we can finally take off our masks. We no longer need to hide, no longer flee from ourselves. We are allowed to be and to be gifted.

Come let us not live in unreasonableness! Come let us seek life. Come, we want to meet grace and truth. Come, let us go, and let us meet Jesus!

God became man. For the love of us. He is waiting for us with outstretched hands.
Let us break out of our darkness and go towards it!

Amen