If you attended a church yesterday that is in the historical tradition of a church with an episcopate, that is to say a church with a structured service and calendar of liturgical readings as well as one with a structured tier of clergy, then you heard scripture readings about the Supreme Being God saying “I AM”. It is almost always written in capital letters and brings us to the topic for this week: self-love.
Not having a chance to confer with the original typographers of the first few thousand printed copies of the scriptures, I cannot confidently tell you I know why the phrase “I AM” is always written in capital letters but I think I have a pretty good idea as to why. In the more popular computer speak or the text-speak of today’s generations, using capital letters signifies screaming. Certainly any Creator Spirit certainly must feel like screaming at mankind at times; we are a most unruly group with our destruction of that which has been created. In this case, however, I think it is to illustrate the importance of what is being said.
My question to you is this: When you think of who you are, do YOU use capital letters? Most of us do not. Why? Generally speaking, the greater part of mankind is not that confident; we lack the self-love to think of ourselves in capital letters.
If you were around in the 1960’s, you probably were identified by the type of music you played. Elvis Presley had brought hip grinding rock and roll to the masses but there were still those who enjoyed the last of the Big Band sound. The end of the decade and Woodstock brought about a plethora of rock bands and in the next twenty years, they evolved into hard rock, heavy metal, and yes, even the teeny bop culture which then led to the pop culture and rap music.
One of those bands of the 1960’s began life as a group known as The Detours. A group of school chums who considered themselves misfits, music gave them an identity. Their band name was much too similar to another group, Johnny and the Detours, though, so a new identity was needed. The new name illustrated one of their most popular songs and gave an entire generation their identity. We have The Who to thank for the essential theme of today’s post – Who are you?
“There’s a place where I know you walked; the love falls from the trees. My heart is like a broken cup; I only feel right on my knees.” Pete Townsend’s lyrics speak to all of us and they ask the same question I am asking you today. “Who are you?” More importantly, is your answer written in capital letters?
Someone once told me to live so that each night, when I washed my face, I was neither ashamed nor afraid to look in the mirror. In other words, I should live so that I liked the reflection I saw in the mirror. That is not always as easy for us as it should be. Personal accountability can be a hard thing. Life is not easy.
One of my favorite comments from last year was someone who stated they were descended from the Sami. I liked it because first, they obviously had read the post that day because it discussed heritage. Secondly, I liked it because it taught me something; it taught me who the Sami were. Like many people, I did not know the first families or tribes of the area we call Norway. Each December I enjoy the representations of reindeer and the elves that attend to them. This past December I went with family members to see some actual reindeer, animals that are not common where I live. However, I had never learned about the people who took care of those reindeer historically.
The Sami people are the first indigenous culture of northern Scandinavia. Once oppressed and their culture in danger of dying out completely, the Sami (who have also been called the Lapps) are now the strongest of all aboriginal cultures in the world. Their original habitat includes countries we call Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia although they never really had their own sovereign state. Most of the world’s first families do not believe they own the land; they believe they are the caretakers of it.
Similarly, we do not own ourselves. Much like the Sami, we are merely the caretakers of our bodies and regretfully, some of us do not do very well with that. Nonetheless, we are the gardeners of our souls. It is up to us to develop and determine who we are. The really neat thing about gardens is that crops need to be rotated in order to reap the best harvests. We are not locked into being just one thing; we are a beautiful tapestry of many things woven into one life.
“Who are you; hu hu hu hu? Who are you; hu hu hu hu? I really wanna know.” I hope you can answer that question with capital letters, evidence that you love not only chocolate or music or a great book or sports team but also yourself. I AM ………