December 3, Thursday

John 1:1-5 (NRSV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Many years ago I read a book written by Rob Bell entitled, What We Talk About When We Talk About God.  Bell became controversial for some of his views and eventually left his pastorate, but there was a chapter in this book that articulated something I had believed about God for a long time but had struggled to put into words. He talked about God not only being with us and for us, but also ahead of us, pulling us forward, “…pulling all of humanity into greater and greater love and joy and justice and equality and peace.” I believe God is out ahead of us, always prodding and encouraging us to move from what is comfortable and known to join Him in the work He is doing to lead us to better reflect the love of Christ in our world.  

In John 1:1-5, we are told that in the beginning, the Word was with God, was God, and all things came into being through him. He is life and the light of all people; and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it. I believe He meets us where we are, at our real time and place in history, and if we are willing to lean forward, shows us how to move closer to greater peace and well-being for everyone. We no longer define family by including concubines, multiple wives, and slaves as we did in Old Testament times. Slowly, one halting step at a time, God is bringing us to a reality that improves peace and justice for and equality of all. I believe He continues to move us closer to His vision in all sorts of aspects of life, one step at a time. As the saying goes, “He’s not through with us yet.”

This brings to mind the CBFAR Annual Meeting last spring, where I was confronted with “white privilege,” a reality I had never before considered in those terms, but which I recognized immediately as true. This felt to me like Christ standing out in front of me, telling me to look at things as they really are, and starting to show me how much my perception could be changed. It also scared me, because I could see how far we have yet to move, even our churches, away from injustice towards peace, justice, and equality for everyone. Scripture says, though, that the darkness cannot overcome the light, and encourages us to lean forward, to embrace the vision the light shows us and to move forward, even one small step at a time. It’s how we grow-one step at a time-how we learn, and how we love. It’s up to us to have the courage to lean forward and continue to join Christ where He is working.

Where do you see Christ leading you and are you leaning forward to join Him?

Lord, I pray, especially during the Advent season, as we anticipate yet again the birth of Jesus that we are open and willing to lean forward, to see where you are working and leading, and to have the courage to join you. Amen.


By Linda Bruns, CBFAR Coordinating Council member
Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, Little Rock


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