Sunday School | Christmas I, Year C, 2018


Reflections for St Philip’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia

Sunday, December 30, 2018 / Christmas I, Year C

Please note: All videos presented today are available on our church website.

John 1:1-18

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.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.                            

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.


Ideas for discussing the application of this lesson to our daily lives – a continuation and an overlap with last week’s Sunday School lesson:

1.     This is one of those Gospel lessons which does not contain words directly from Jesus.  Instead, this is more of a theological reflection on Jesus as opposed to a story about Jesus’ life and/or teaching.  What does this Gospel reading mean to you?

2.     Listen to Fr. Richard Rohr’s homily preached on Advent IV in 2015 – just as the presidential primary election season was in full swing. 

a.      How does fear impact the Church’s ability to carry out Christ’s mission to rescue this world? 

b.     What do we have to be afraid of?

c.      When was the last time you saw a nationwide environment of fear we find ourselves in today?  How did St. Philip’s respond on a parish level?  A neighborhood level?  A city level?

3.     Listen to Rev. Brian McLaren’s first talk (2/15/2017) he gave just after Trump’s inauguration. 

a.      How does the environment the Church finds itself in today compare with the environment in Germany (and its Axis allies) in the 1930’s and 1940’s?

b.     What does Brian McLaren view as the Church’s greatest threat in today’s environment?

c.      Does St. Philip’s have a responsibility to respond to the injustice we are witnessing?

d.     If so, what is our responsibility?

e.      What is YOUR responsibility?

4.     Last Sunday, we heard Rev. Brian McLaren talk about the importance of spirituality as the catalyst, the energy and the director of any resistance.  Our own Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has just released a program designed to help us grow spiritually so we may become effective disciples of Jesus.  Let’s watch the introductory video.

a.      After a deeper dive into this Way of Love program, it is clearly not a curriculum that will go well with our one-hour Sunday School schedule.  Is this a program you think is worth pursuing during the week?

5.     Your deacon would argue The Word spoken of in today’s Gospel lesson is ineffectual unless words become actions. 

a.      Do you agree?  Why or why not?