Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas Eve 2013 - I AM

Reflection on Sermon at our church at the Midnight Communion on Christmas Eve

I was sooo tired at this service, that I could barely listen to the sermon. In the end, I let myself off, and just held on to two points.

One is an old thought, but struck me afresh; how the I AM sayings of Jesus follow on from Moses' encounter with GOD at the burning bush;     

Image from Icon Reader.
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Exodus 3:1-15    Moses and the Burning Bush

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose 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?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
    the name you shall call me
    from generation to generation."
I wonder what Jesus actually said - for the words "I AM" were too holy to be spoken aloud. Did he really say "Jehovah the Good Shepherd", or "Jehovah the Way"? If he did, then no wonder the Jews were shocked. As if English parents called their son "Jesus" - common enough in other countries, but definitely strange and shocking in England.
The other thing that struck me is that the vicar said that Jesus never said "I was born", but always "I came", or "I have come".
John 10:10
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
It makes it clear that he comes from heaven, rather than just being born. 
There were other good things in the sermon, connected, linking, expanding, illustrating how Jesus IS God, and has come to save us, now and for always, but I just stayed with these two thoughts, resolving to get them concreted into my mind before they vanished under everything else that happens at Christmas.
Emmanuel. God, with us, always, everywhere.   

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