I AM sayings
The seven 'I AM' sayings are images Jesus uses of himself in St. Johns Gospel, where they run like a thread of pearls, each hinting at a different understanding of who Jesus is. Simultaneously ambiguous and clear, they have the power to lead us deep into the mystery of who Jesus is and what he might mean to us.
I Am the Bread of Life
here to get bread? An ever-pressing question
That trembles on the lips of anxious mothers,
Bread for their families, bread for all these others;
A whole world on the margin of exhaustion.
And where that hunger has been satisfied
here to get bread? The question still returns
In our abundance something starves and yearns
We crave fulfillment, crave and are denied.
And then comes One who speaks into our needs
Who opens out the secret hopes we cherish
Whose presence calls our hidden hearts to flourish
Whose words unfold in us like living seeds
Come to me, broken, hungry, incomplete,
I Am the Bread of Life, break Me and eat.
I Am the Light of the World
I see your world in light that shines behind me,
Lit by a sun whose rays I cannot see,
The smallest gleam of light still seems to find me
Or find the child who's hiding deep inside me.
I see your light reflected in the water,
Or kindled suddenly in someone's eyes,
It shimmers through translucent leaves in summer,
Or spills from silver veins in leaden skies,
It gathers in the candles at our vespers
It concentrates in tiny drops of dew
At times it sings for joy, at times it whispers,
But all the time it calls me back to you.
I follow you upstream through this dark night
My saviour, source, and spring, my life and light.
I Am The Door of the Sheepfold
Not one that’s gently hinged or deftly hung,
Not like the ones you planed at Joseph’s place,
Not like the well-oiled openings that swung
So easily for Pilate’s practiced pace,
Not like the ones that closed in Mary’s face
From house to house in brimming Bethlehem,
Not like the one that no man may assail,
The dreadful curtain, The forbidding veil
That waits your breaking in Jerusalem.
Not one you made but one you have become:
Load-bearing, balancing, a weighted beam
To bridge the gap, to bring us within reach
Of your high pasture. Calling us by name,
You lay your body down across the breach,
Yourself the door that opens into home.
I Am the Good Shepherd
When so much shepherding has gone so wrong
So many pastors hopelessly astray
The weak so often preyed on by the strong
So many bruised and broken on the way
The very name of shepherd seems besmeared
The fold and flock themselves are torn in half
The lambs we left to face all we have feared
Are caught between the wasters and the wolf.
Good shepherd now your flock has need of you
One finds the fold and ninety-nine are lost
Out in the darkness and the icy dew
And no one knows how long this night will last.
Restore us, call us back to you by name,
And by your life laid down, redeem our shame.
I Am the Resurrection
How can you be the final resurrection?
That resurrection hasn't happened yet.
Our broken world is still bent on destruction,
No sun can rise before that sun has set.
Our faith looks back to father Abraham
And toward to the one who is to come
How can you speak as though he knew your name?
How can you say: before he was I am?
Begin in me and I will read your riddle
And teach you truths my Spirit will defend
I am the End who meets you in the middle,
The new Beginning hidden in the End.
I am the victory, the end of strife
I am the resurrection and the life.
I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life
Wherever someone knows that they are lost,
And cries for help to find the way back home,
And turns towards their father's house at last
You are theirWay before they know your name.
Wherever someone searches for the truth
And tests each easy answer in its turn,
Stressing the question, pressing to the pith,
You are the Truth they cannot yet discern.
Wherever someone sorrows over death
Yet seems to glimpse a gate beyond the grave,
A living spirit in the dying breath,
You are the Life within the life they love.
You come to us before we ask or pray
Till you become our Life, our Truth, our Way.
I Am the Vine
How might it feel to be part of the vine?
Not just to see the vineyard from afar
Or even pluck the clusters, press the wine,
But to be grafted in, to feel the stir
Of inward sap that rises from our Root,
Himself deep planted in the ground of Love,
To feel ones leaves unfold, a tender shoot,
As tendrils curled unfurl, as branches give
A little to the swelling of the grape,
n gradual perfection, round and full,
To bear within oneself the joy and hope
Of God's good vintage, till it's ripe and whole.
What might it mean to bide and to abide
In such rich love as makes the poor heart glad?