Saturday, December 19, 2020

Here Am I…Here I Am…OM


Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

The ending of this story, brings to mind my favorite old testament story (not read today)...

1 Samuel 3:1-10

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.  Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!”  and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So, he went and lay down. The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore, Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So, Samuel went and lay down in his place.  Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”


In Samuel's declaration "Speak Lord for your servant is listening," and Mary's "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word,” I find a similar act of faith and call. If I get down in the weeds with the words I find early in Samuel's call story he uses the word "Here I Am," but later abandons this choice. Mary similarly says "Here Am I," Subtle, but in the grand scheme of things perhaps tremendous.  When God told Moses God’s name it was declared it to be "I Am." I feel that Samuel's change of phrase and Mary's reversal of these words could signal a reverence for God, perhaps even the idea of duality with God that dominates mainline Christian thought. But what if that wasn't the intention? What if it was simply a signal that in that moment the God exterior to Samuel and Mary's inner world was not the speaker. What if, much like the Trinity, they simply recognize this voice was from outside of them? "I Am" being outside, "Am I" being inside or self. I am not suggesting that we are all God, simply that if God is everywhere then certainly God lives in our hearts (inside self) and in sound, words, burning bushes, etc. (outside self).

I have always Thought of "I Am" in the same way many in the world think of "OM."  In fact, if you say both fast enough, they begin to sound similar. I’m choosing today to write from my heart about OM, this is purely my opinion and not researched.  Om is the universal sound of all.  OM could be the sound that happened at the time of creation, or big bang, when God “said” let there be light.  OM is a powerful word, when said in community with others and repeated the vibration experienced can calm and heal the soul. Personally, I have used OM bedside with other yoga therapists as our vibrational prayer for an ailing colleague, a moment I will never forget. OM, I AM, and AMEN have mystical qualities individually or together they can be powerful mantra(s). OM is nondual, felt both on the inside and the outside; OM is trinitarian. OM is I AM and AM I together. OM is in the wind.

OM is prayer.  I use Samuel’s reply, “Speak, for your servant is listening,” as my opening to spiritual listening.  Listening, AM I, for the OM from the great I AM. AMEN.


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