Look around you in Jersey. What do you see? Prosperity, yes. Poverty, yes.
But what do you see behind the facades of people's lives? What is the big picture - the big picture that describes, as a group, every male and female in Jersey? The macro painting of Jersey people as a group?
In this big picture, we need to include the fact of death - the short and temporary duration of every person. And the big picture needs to include the ageing, the declining powers of every person. And illness, disease and failing strength.
And the big picture needs to include the evils against which we all struggle. Do you lock your doors and windows? That's because of evil in people. That's why we need a Jersey police force - both paid and honorary.
Then we need to paint into the big picture the damaged relationships - every one of them - between people in Jersey. When the lies are uncovered, the sad truths behind the smiles are revealed. The wife/husband stresses; the parent/child misunderstandings: the employer/employee antagonisms. There aren’t many finance industry employees in Jersey who think and speak well of their employer. And what about putting into the picture the drug abuse amongst teenagers and sexual licence without parental knowledge?
And if this is the big picture of Jersey, what about the global big picture? In some places there is mass starvation and elsewhere life expectancy is below 40 at birth.
So, as the real big picture emerges, the colours are dark. And a big conclusion emerges - often unspoken but very much a conviction deep inside many: A GOD OF LOVE WOULD NOT HAVE MADE THIS BIG PICTURE. THERE CANNOT BE SUCH A GOD.
John, who wrote a First Century biography of Jesus Christ (AD 0-33), had no illusions about the big picture in Israel in those days - it was the same as Jersey 2008; it was "darkness". He said of Jesus: In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
This same John wrote the immediately preceding sentence: All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. What? How come that Jesus came to "darkness" if he, the light of men, was their creator?
The Bible's message is that "darkness" came into the world when men and women began to seek the best for themselves, never mind the problems this caused for others. The problem came with "Chacun pour soi - Every man for himself". And that remains the problem.... This must be included in the big picture.
Into that darkness came Jesus. See John 1:14 above. Jesus was the total opposite - he came to serve others, not pour soi, not to serve himself. John's big picture of Jesus is; "We have seen his glory, ......, full of grace and truth."
There is a God after all. A God of love who could not allow the darkness of self-seeking, self-preservation, self-satisfaction to rule for ever. A God who gave his only Son, Jesus Christ.
John wrote, "We have seen his glory..." This self-giving glory is, in fact, the glory of his Father.