John 1:1-14 – CHRISTMAS – for December 25, 2016
“In the beginning was the word . . .” (John 1:1)
In the beginning was the Word
and the word was with God
and the Word was God . . .
For a few years at a church I once served, John sang Ava Maria at the Christmas Eve service. Sometimes, his name was listed in the worship bulletin; sometimes he unexpectedly appeared and we’d let him sing. Of course we would!
It was a United Methodist congregation, and yet there was John, crooning the most Roman Catholic of songs about a maiden and her child:
Ave Maria! maiden mild!
Listen to a maiden’s prayer!
Thou canst hear though from the wild;
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,
Though banish’d, outcast and reviled –
Maiden! hear a maiden’s prayer;
Mother, hear a suppliant child!
John may have been a drug addict. He occasionally worshipped in the non-Ava Maria seasons, present for a few Sundays in a row, perhaps singing in the choir, and then—for months—disappearing. He randomly worked, with a mix of rumors that his family was wealthy and sent him money. The then thirty-something John drifted here and there. I’d worry about him. I’d forget about him. I have wondered, especially during Decembers, what happened to John? I recollect the last time I saw him was the last Christmas Eve I did at that small rural church. Continue reading →