A Cosmic Gospel


by the Rev. Barbara Mraz

“’Christ,’” says theologian Richard Rohr, “is not the last name of Jesus!”

We know that, yet it’s easy to forget. If only the little word “the” hadn’t dropped away. Jesus “the” Christ.

But that statement is hardly the most troubling of those I found researching for the sermon tomorrow. Read on.

Already the First Sunday after Christmas arrives tomorrow, Dec. 27 along with what is one of my favorite readings: John 1:1-18.

John basically writes a new creation story – “In the beginning,” he says. It’s a cosmic story that says nothing about the little town of Bethlehem. But it has a lot more to say!

So that troubling thing? I looked up the word: “Christ” in the dictionary. The first definition was as expected: “Messiah, anointed one, etc.”

But the second definition was this (the second!) “Christ: an oath used to express irritation, dismay, or surprise. ‘Oh Christ,’ he moaned under his breath.’”

I think we used to call that “taking the name of God in vain” but now it’s almost business as usual in prime time…. And it’s an easy pattern to slip into ourselves. That, and “Jee-zus!”

There is a lot to consider tomorrow as we look at the beginning of “The Fourth Gospel.” It’s still Christmas and yes there will be church. And with John’s help, we will blast off into the heavens.

You will see us there– in church.


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