Who am I? What am I

Published 9:01 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Across the Pastor’s Desk

By the Rev. David Hernes, East Freeborn Lutheran Church

Most of us struggle with some basic questions, consciously or unconsciously.

“Who am I? What am I?”

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I will share some of my own processing of these questions.

My name is David. I am a human being. That means that I am a flawed being. My defects are deep and serious. Unaddressed, they are spiritually fatal.

But being human means more than being broken and needy.

Being human means having some likeness to God. Isn’t that what “the image of God” means? That doesn’t mean that we look like God — or God looks like us. That means we are spirit beings, like our creator. That means that we have capacity for spiritual relationships with the supreme being — and with each other.

And, further, being human means we are the finest creatures the creator made. To be human means to be creatures of nobility, dignity and worth. It means to actually have God-qualities and realities. Isn’t that staggering?

It is true that evil has contaminated our very souls — the spiritual side of our lives. All of us Pharisees, if we are honest, know how religious our egos can be. But we are not evil beings! We are human beings. We are spiritual beings. We got our spiritual “genes” from our creator. And if that’s not humbling, I don’t know what is. That means that every human being is a spiritual being. We all bear the image of God, no matter how tarnished and faint that image may be.

One more thing: I am a Christian. That means that I accept that I have been “died for” by the Son of God. That can be hard to believe for two reasons: I didn’t think I was that bad, and I didn’t think I was that good. His death has restored me to the Father. In some mysterious way, the Father and the Son now live in me, and through me.

I like the way alcoholics in recovery introduce themselves at meetings. A newcomer says, “I am John, and I am an alcoholic.” The others clap happily and say, “Welcome! Glad you’re here? Keep coming back!”

That simple practice makes several things clear. It makes clear John’s need. It makes clear that he belongs — because of his need. It makes clear that help and hope are available. It makes clear the need for honesty and humility.

Who am I? What am I? Who are you? What are you?

I am David. I am a human being. I am a sinner. I am a Christian. I am a child of God.