Genesis 17:3-9; John 8:51-59
“Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
The well known “I AM.” The Jews knew that God used those words as a name when speaking to Moses. In today’s gospel John presents an insulting man from Nazareth using those same words to identify himself. “Surely he must be crazy” is a believable and likely response for the typical Jew expecting a triumphant savior. Instead the Jews get a lowly person who rebukes their religious practices and the structure they created for their followers. I like to believe that I would have recognized Jesus as the savior if I was alive during those times, but that is wishful thinking. More likely, I would have been like the many other Jews missing the true identity and teachings of Jesus. Do you think you would have embraced Jesus if you were present during his life? No matter what our answers are, we have opportunities to embrace the “I AM” in the midst of our daily lives.
We lead busy lives with work, family, ministry, social activities, etc. It’s easy to get caught into completing tasks and avoiding interruptions until we reach the day’s end. When we get caught into that routine, we miss the “I AM” that is present in our day as “holy interruptions.” You know those untimely interruptions that drive you crazy like the computer program that doesn’t work or the meeting that last forever. Perhaps it’s the child who dirties your outfit as you walk out the door, the beggar who asks for another handout, or the parishioner who insists on certain ways of doing things. You know well those interruptions that tear you away from getting your tasks completed.
Today’s gospel presents Jesus as a “holy interruption” to the Jews. The Jews were dreaming of the triumphant savior, the promised one that would right the wrongs and return power to the Jews. What they got was a “holy interruption,” a simple man making bold claims and scorning religious leaders. The Jews were faced with a man who neither led them to victory nor saved them from captivity. He was a man who reviled the powerful and embraced the weak and broken hearted. Jesus interrupted the organized religion of the Jews and presented them with a simple way to God.
I suggest that the interruptions we encounter in our day can be viewed as “holy interruptions.” We can choose to get frustrated when we are interrupted for yet another time or we can embrace the sacred in those moments. We can choose to see deeper into the interruption and recognize the presence of the “I AM” who resides in all things. Perhaps our holy interruptions are simple ways to God as Jesus was to the Jews. We don’t have to speculate if we would have followed Jesus or not, because we too have opportunities to embrace “I AM” in our daily interruptions.
By Eden Foord