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. John 1:1-5
This verse is often not one of the first accounts that might come to mind when we think about ‘beginnings. However, this is perhaps the ultimate beginning narrative, as it is here that we meet God at the world's beginning.
This verse says two distinct things. The first is that beginnings are weird! John’s gospel is – it must be said – an utterly weird gospel, etching the stories of God in a magical technicolour. The ‘beginnings’ in our own lives can be like this too. The moment of beginning something – a new school, a new relationship, a new stage of life – is always etched in some weirdness, some discomfort and wonder, which is often hard to navigate. It is encouraging that the beginning of the world is the same.
Secondly, we notice that this beginning is not one which only God (singular) is experiencing. Instead, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. In the absence of all else, it is said that the Word exists, and that the Word exists with God. It is only after establishing this fact does John move on to talk about everything else which they – the Word and God – created together. It is this relationality that is important. Often at key beginnings in our lives we feel very isolated, but in fact, we are not. We bring with us – to these new beginnings – our relationships. The relationships we formed before, the relationships we sometimes take with us and the relationships we have yet to form. And, inevitably, we begin with God too.
Beginnings are tough. But there is much comfort to be found in the account of God (in her multiplicity) in the world's beginning. This beginning – much like those we all face again and again – are weird but they are also ones we never truly do on our own.
- Revel in the weirdness, try not to be freaked our or intimidated by it.
- Hold fast to those people around you who can support you, whether they are stood with you at the breech of ‘the beginning’ or if they are somewhere else entirely. Cling onto them.
- Keep an eye on your own friends, stand close to them and help them in their own beginnings.
- Remember God – in their relationality and multiplicity – is beginning alongside you. Pray, rest in God, let her help you, let her begin with you.
Written by Kenneth Wilkinson-Roberts, an SCM Member studying at Lancaster.