Send Your Word by Yasushige Imakoma, 1965
Send your Word, O God, like rain falling down upon the earth.
Send your Word. We seek your endless grace,
with souls that hunger and thirst, sorrow and agonize.
We would all be lost in dark without your guiding light.
This Japanese song is slow and somber—set in a mood more like Lent than Advent. Its tune is contrary to the unwritten score for the song of John playing around in my head. The prologue to the gospel of John has trumpets and fanfare, or maybe flowing, earthy, harp music with a babbling brook behind it. Never in my mind has In the beginning was the Word, been a dirge. Now that I think about it though, perhaps it should be.
This beginning to the gospel sets the stage for a tragic drama. The hero, an ill-fated figure who the audience knows dies at the end, is foretold. This cannot be the triumphant fanfare or the soothing meditation music that I first thought. It is too important to be taken lightly.
Jesus, the child of Bethlehem, of Egypt, and of Nazareth is the promised Messiah in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This is the Jesus that sweats and cries, sleeps and eats, and has a need for companionship. Jesus in the Gospel of John, however, is the very divine, light, God, the Word spoken in creation. This gospel’s Jesus shows us God incarnate (in flesh), light in a world of darkness. The Jesus of John is the divine who touches earth and brings all of creation to a single point—the Word, the Light of the World, the Christ.
This Advent let us look for those like us who need such a hero. Those whose lives are in darkness and those whose lives are in shadow. The light shines in the darkness, and the light triumphs. This is good news.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5