From Dale Bruner’s The Gospel of John: A Commentary, on John chapter 1, verse 2 (65 and 70)
“Now here is the witness of John when the Jewish people of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ Well, John spoke right up, he did not deny it, he spoke right up and said, ‘I am not the messiah.’ So they asked him, ‘Who then? Are you Elijah?’ And he said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you The Prophet? And he replied, ‘No.’”
John the Baptist knows and confesses who he is not: (a) I am not the Messiah; (b) I am not Elijah; and (c) I am not The Prophet … all of us who believe and read this text—are invited to assess and affirm our own “I am not’s” and “I am’s” so that with a more healthy and clearly defined understanding of our limits and gifts, we too can move out into the world in faithful vocation and witness.
Today, I affirm my I am not’s…I am not crafty. (If I’ve pinned a crafty project, it’s out of shame, not hope.)
I am not a natural blonde. (I was! Once! A long time ago!)
I am not graceful. (Lots of tripping/spilling of food and drink/hitting of funny bones, which leads to fainting.)
I am not naturally opinionated. (I work hard to form those.)
I am not that good at practicing contemplative prayer and/or parenting my children with patience and generosity. (Even though I may appear to do so on this here blog.)
I am not a theologian.
I am not quiet and I’m rarely gentle.
I am not a preacher.
I am not a person who bakes beautiful desserts from scratch.
I am not a natural encourager.
I am not musical, even though I so want to be.
I am not a runner, though I jog slowly and wheeze a few times a week.
What about you? What are you not? And what does that say about who you are?
PS I’ll be back tomorrow with a “What I am” list.