Thought of the Week - 19th January 2022
Pre read: Ephesians 3:17-19
Hello everyone. Monday of this week was apparently ‘Blue Monday’, a day recognised as the most depressing day of the year. Apparently, it’s because Mondays are the beginning of the working week, it’s still the middle of winter, it’s a long time to summer, and people are receiving their credit card bills for Christmas spending. The good news is that January is half done. We have been blessed with some beautiful weather this week. Cold, but bright sunshine and blue sky. It makes a very welcome change after what has seemed a very grey winter. The brightness of the day has also helped us see that the days are getting longer, which is a great encouragement. So if you are feeling blue at the moment, fix your thoughts on the prayer above, and may you feel the warmth and light of Jesus’s overwhelming love for you.
THE SEVEN ‘I AM’ STATEMENTS OF JESUS
One of the distinctive elements of the teaching of Jesus is the way he expresses important truths in terms of his own personal identity and mission. Unique to the Gospel of John are seven statements about himself that Jesus begins by saying “I am …”
The phrase “I am” reflects Exodus 3, where God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, and sent him to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
In response to Moses’s question, ‘If I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?”, then what shall I tell them?’, God replied to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you. … This is my name for ever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.’ (Exodus 3:13,14,15b)
“I am who I am.” This personal ‘name of God’ statement was used throughout Israel’s Scriptures to convey the truth that God always was, always is and always will be. In using the expression, ‘I am …’ Jesus is explicitly identifying himself as God and bearing God’s presence on Earth.
Each of the seven “I am” statements follow a basic pattern. They are written as metaphors in which one of the key elements is to be Jesus expressed as “I am.” Jesus always provides an explanatory statement with it, so there is no misunderstanding to its meaning and that it is clear to his listeners. These metaphorical statements often complement Jesus’ miracles. The statement and a miracle contribute to the understanding of the other. Each of the miracles is interpreted by the metaphorical “I am” statement. Each statement is intended to give the miracle meaning for the ministry of Jesus. They show us that Jesus’ miracles were not just acts of power or mercy, but actions demonstrating his divine identity and the meaning of his ministry and teaching.
The “I am” statements found in the Gospel of John, are:
‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ (John 6:35)
‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) ‘I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.’ (John 10:9)
‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11)
‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.‘ (John 11:25)
‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:6)
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’ (John 15:5).
Over the coming weeks, we shall look at each of these ‘I am’ statements more closely, and by God’s grace come to a greater understanding of who Jesus is, and why he came.
May you know his presence in our life today and always.
With love from everyone at St Paul’s, St Peter’s and St Mary’s.
Please pray for
The PCC meeting next Monday evening, that God will give them wisdom in governing the church in our parish
Those waiting for medical treatments or test results, that there will be no delay due to Covid
The lonely and the anxious
Students and staff heading back to college/university
- For our health services as they continue to administer the COVID vaccine boosters and manage other heath needs
- The bereaved, thinking of the loved ones of Neville Hampton
Pre read: 2Timothy 4:7-8
We hope you’ve had a good week and that you and your loved ones are all safe and well.
After 19 days, the Olympic Games 2020 came to an end last Sunday. Delayed for a year because of Covid, the athletes worked towards those games for 5 years, struggling through all the Covid restrictions as well as their own limitations. In 2 weeks’ time the Para Olympics will begin, with those athletes also having persevered against all odds to make it to that great celebration of human endurance and excellence.
In the Bible verses above, the apostle Paul is writing what may well be a final farewell to his good friend Timothy. Paul senses he is approaching the end of his life, but rather than fear it, he sees it as a great victory for which the greatest reward – a place in the Kingdom of Heaven - is waiting for him. May we all have that same confidence in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and may God bless you and your loved ones this coming week.
With love and prayers
from all at St Paul’s, St Peter’s and St Mary’s
This week we continue our occasional series on Prayer,
taken from ‘Prayer: Where to Start and How to Keep Going’,
by Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York.
HOW DO I BUILD PRAYER INTO EVERYDAY LIFE?
Most of us have routines that shape the day. One of the ways of developing a life of prayer is to weave times of prayer into these existing rhythms and routines. Each point in the day lends itself to a different sort of praying:
First thing in the morning
When you get up in the morning, use this as an opportunity to welcome the new day. Dedicate the day to God, asking for God’s blessing on you and your loved ones through the day, and for you to able to be a blessing to those you will meet.
As I rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence O God,
set my heart on fire with love for you,
now and forever. Amen.
Eating is one of the main routines that shape a day. When you sit down to eat, say a prayer of thanksgiving for your food: for those who plant and grow and pick and transport and stack and sell the food that ends up on your plate. This can also be an opportunity to give thanks to God for all the good things in your life and remember those who do not have the luxury of regular meals.
Lord Jesus, thank you for this food,
for those who have produced it,
for those who have prepared it,
(and for those with whom I share it.)
Thank you for those I love most.
I lift to you all who hunger:
for food, for shelter, for love and for you.
As I eat, help me to remember your provision and goodness with a thankful heart. Amen.
As you exercise
If you take a daily walk (or run or cycle) you are likely to be on your own. Why not use this as an opportunity to pray for others as well as yourself. Perhaps list in your mind the people you are concerned about and the other things that are closest to your heart.
At the end of the day
When we go to bed, we think back over the day and we bring to God the things that have gone well and the things that have gone wrong. We thank God for the blessings of the day and say sorry for those things we have got wrong. We entrust ourselves and our loved ones into God’s hands asking for peace and rest throughout the night.
Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping,
that awake we may watch with Christ
and asleep we may rest in peace. Amen.
Not all these things will work for everyone. Some things that work one day, won’t work so well the next. Find the way of praying that is right for you, and then build on it, trying other new things from time to time.
(Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York)