‘I have a drink problem. I am in recovery. And I wanted to thank you, and the PCC, for allowing Alcoholics Anonymous to meet in the church hall. But I also need to tell you about the judgement I have had from other people. “You’re not one of them, are you?”’
‘Thanks for coming to see me, vicar. I’ll get straight to it. I’ve had a diagnosis of dementia.’
‘In the end, it was mercifully quick. But we’d lost her three years ago. She thought I was my father.’
On what basis does God judge us? On our best days, or our most vulnerable? For the coping mechanisms we turn to, that then turn on us? On who we were, or who we become?
The writers of the New Testament affirm that God has appointed Jesus as the one who will judge the peoples. But what measure will he use? Not, I think, on whether you have subscribed to the right doctrinal statements; but weighing, as no-one else has judgement to weigh, the question God asks of each one of us:
‘What make you of the life I have given?’
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.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
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.