Here is the Lamb of God – Br. Sean Glenn

“Br.John 1:20-34

Here is the Lamb of God. I myself did not know him; but I came that he might be revealed.

As a child (and like many children) I lived with a terrible fear of the dark. Dusk brought with it great anxiety, for I knew what was coming, as it always had: the deep, dark, infinite night. If I am completely honest, this is a fear I have never really outgrown. When one summer between sophomore and junior years of high school I found myself drowning in preparatory reading assignments, the night brought new shades of anxiety. I recall spending most of that summer just as unable to face my bed as I had been as a child. Certainly, I became another “Glenn night owl,” but not because I enjoyed the night.

As an adult, I find the early anxieties brought on at dusk have only grown with me, changing shape, size, and magnitude as my experience with the world and myself became fuller, richer, and, at times, much darker.

It is now the darkest part of the year—at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. It is also a particularly dark season in the world. Yet this is not the only dark season I—or any of us—have known, and scripture invites us to name and own the enduring mystery at the heart of our human experiences of darkness.

Even though the world may be chilled and anxious, a prophet’s strange words herald the darkness’s retreat:

Here is the Lamb of God. I myself did not know him; but I came that he might be revealed.

A light shines in the far country of our heart, in a region we may have long ago decided was barren, lost, or dead—lost forever to our long exile. Strangely enough there always seems to be an inverse dimension to our experiences of darkness, one through which our lives will always somehow find truth and grace in God’s provision—moments when we know deeply that God has hidden something from us in love. Sometimes it is something wonderful; sometimes something supremely disturbing; always something we could have never borne or imagined had we been given it without such buffering, no matter how painful, no matter how joyful.

In our Gospel reading today John does not reveal someone he already knows. A preacher seasoned in apocalyptic, John is no stranger to the world’s darkness, yet even as he witnesses to God’s unfailing provision for the world, he cannot himself comprehend what the shadows may hide from his own eye. But in the person of Jesus, John sees amid the deep shadows the recapitulation of Abraham’s promise to Isaac—indeed Abraham’s promise to all of us: God will provide the Lamb.

Amid the darkness of our unknowing, God prepares our salvation. That salvation is here, now, no matter how dim and hopeless, as God’s enfleshed and glorified Word seeks to be born anew in each of us—in the history of God’s people into which we have been baptized, in the history of the world, and in the history of your life. God will provide.

Behold, beloved, the Lamb of God; and see how the darkness has begun its promised retreat.

[1]Note: This homily has been edited since its original delivery. Many thanks to Carl Daw for his generous assistance and insight.

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  1. Margo on December 17, 2022 at 05:01

    Dear Shaun, for we, the reluctant night owls or rather mice:
    “The night is dark.
    Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
    rest in you.

    The night is quiet.
    Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
    all dear to us, ”
    Thank you , Margo

  2. John G. on December 16, 2022 at 10:27

    Thank you, Brother Glenn, for this rich message. The preamble to the Gospel of John reminds me that the darkness has not overcome Jesus, the Light of the World. I hope I will remember that if I enter into spiritual darkness. But God has indeed made provision for such times, and His Son has gone through the darkness before us. Thank you for your blessed words.

  3. Sue V on January 4, 2021 at 08:26

    Brother Glenn, such insight into the darkness that enshrouds our lives, yet knowing “God will….” is the small light of hope that I look to because Jesus is in my life, I know the darkness I fear will not overcome me. Remembering to look for the stars as only in the darkness are they seen, there are many promises in His Word to see me thru to the daylight. Thank you for this rich message.

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