Stories can have a number of beginnings, but this story starts in a very traditional way, a homely way, a familiar way. Some of the best stories do.
Once upon a time, in a land not that far from here a Servant middling-in-age was walking along with his Master. They often walked this way, but not as often as the Servant would like.
During a day of unfamiliar weather the Master turned to the Servant and said – “I have a treasure for you to find”
“I treasure, really” said the Servant excitedly “what kind of a treasure”.
“This is no ordinary treasure” said the Master “it is not gold, or silver. It’s not even made of precious stones, but it is beyond all worldly wealth. No one could buy this treasure and keep it to themselves.”
Excited by the thought the Servant was now beaming from ear to ear. All sorts of thoughts were flashing through his mind – what kind of treasure could this be?
The Master continued “This treasure is small, very small actually, and yet is great in stature”
The Servant’s heart sank a little. He didn’t really like guessing games. His wife liked guessing games, but they just made him feel a bit dim.
The Master wasn’t playing guessing games though; he was talking about an adventure, a voyage, a discovery.
And so the Master continued “This treasure is already in plain view; it’s out in the open for everyone to see. Be careful though, sometimes it’s not really the treasure at all that’s there, sometimes it’s fools treasure.”
This still sounded like a guessing game to the Servant and he was feeling a bit dim.
The Master knew his thoughts and so he started to make himself very plain indeed “The treasure that I am giving you is a word. Only a small word, but a mighty and powerful word. I will reveal this word to you in a new way and write it into your heart. You’ll see this word in places you’ve never seen before and it will shout out at you. When it doesn’t shout, be careful because it’s not the real word, it’s a foolish use of this mighty word when people really mean a smaller easier more cosy word.” And still the Master continued “This word is also an unforgiving word, it doesn’t allow compromise and you certainly can’t shrink it or put it in your pocket.”
The servant wondered when it was going to stop being a guessing game and turn into something else.
At the moment the Servant had a panic “What if I do forget the word, what if I lose the treasure?”
The Master concluded “The treasured word that I am giving you is fortunately very easy to remember. Let me spell it for you, are you ready: The first letter is A as in Apple, the second is L as in Lion and the third is the same as the second”
“A.L.L -’All’ is that it. A.L.L.” thought the Servant to himself, he was far too polite to speak it out, even though he knew the Master could read his mind.
In due course the Servant did indeed see the treasure and it was in plain view so why hadn’t he seen it before?
And so the walk ended and the journey began.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.