“I am…”

 

At the 11am services over the past two months, we have had the opportunity to focus on certain of the “I am…” sayings of Jesus.  Malcolm Guite started the series on April 12th when he talked about the theme “I am the vine”

Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me

(John 15:4b)

and reflected our need to be rooted and grounded in Jesus for our faith to be fruitful.

 

Ann Kember developed the theme on April 26th, talking on “I am the Way”

“Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”. Jesus said to him, “I am the way…”

(John 14:5b-6a)

We were reminded that we are not simply aiming at some distant goal, but are travelling a particular road: our faith is not all about the ends, but just as much about the Way. Alice Meynell, in her poem “I am the Way”, writes about this contrast: “Hadst thou been nothing but the goal / I cannot say / If thou hadst ever met my soul”. She concludes in the same vein, “Access, Approach / Art thou, Time, Way, and Wayfarer”.

 

The theme continued on May 3rd, when Malcolm spoke on “I am the… …life”, bringing us his recent sonnet, “God so loved the world”, which ends: “And now he gives himself, as Life and Light / that we might choose in Him to set things right”. On May 17th, Ann picked up the last of the trio, “I am the… …truth”, reflecting on, amongst other things, our need to trust, and our capacity to retain a sense of wonder for those things that we “understand”.

 

We closed the series with Malcolm speaking on just the core words – “I am…”, first found in Exodus 3, and picked up in John 8:57b,

Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.

in which we recognise with great immediacy that that with which we have to deal in our faith is not a “what” but a “who” – an eternal and infinite “I am” of consciousness from which we spring, in whom we “live and move and have our being”, in whose image we are made, and to whom, through and in Jesus, we can relate and come close.

Adrian Stacey

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