The primary medallion on the pulpit of the Cathedral is this bas relief of John the Evangelist. He is pictured in keeping with the church tradition that he was the writer of John’s Gospel (or at least the one after whom it was named.)
He is seen here with the flowing scroll on which the prologue was written and astride the great eagle. The eagle has long been associated with John in art because the eagle flies so very high above the earth. As one reads John’s prologue (the first few verses of the Gospel of John) one can see that this “height” is not so much about altitude as it is about a height of spiritual soaring. The Gospel of John’s theology (study of God) is a “high” one, which simply means that in John’s gospel, there is a lot of mysticism – a lot of magical talk about God and Jesus being rather more heavenly than earthly. I know some who dislike the Gospel of John for this reason. It is true that it is hard to understand but disliking it for that reason seems lazy to me.
The prologue to John’s gospel
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
As you read this prologue, it is clear that this is more a song to be sung than a text to be read. There is mystery and poetry in these words which were the words used, in the early church, to end all church liturgies as the final hymn.
When I read this I am aware that words must be very important for God to become them in Jesus. Knowing this changes how I speak, what I write down and what I say in conversation. I am less careless in my speech knowing that God became flesh as the WORD.