The Final Three I AMs

I had some trouble this morning with my Internet connection and could not be sure that the full text of the Weekly Update went out.  The message announced the publication of Episode 35 in The Holy Bible: the New Testament, which is focused on the final three I AM sayings (Greek: ego eimi) in St. John’s Gospel:  I AM the Resurrection and the Life;  I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life; and I AM the True Vine.

I use these three sayings to connect the message of my You Tube video Bible Study to concepts explained in more detail in Blessed is the Man …, which is Part Three of Christian Spirituality: an Anglican Perspective.  Jesus says “I AM the Way…..”   In Psalm 1, the unknown Psalmist divides the world into the “Two Ways,” that of the godly, or righteous, and the ungodly, and offers a clear statement, expressed in two verses in the negative, of what the godly man will not do, followed by three verses, expressed in the positive form, of what the godly will do and act.  In Psalm 119, King David reminds readers of how the righteous will be guided in their daily lives not just by “knowledge” but by “understanding.”   How we, as Christians, can access this “way” is discussed in “Seeing” the Face of God, which is Part Two in Christian Spirituality.  The book is availalbe from my author page at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions

Jesus, the Good Shepherd (O Poimen, O Kalos)

Detail from Window 35, stained glass by Mayer of Munich, St. Joseph's Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA. A.D. 1931
Detail from Window 35, stained glass by Mayer of Munich, St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA. A.D. 1931

No other of the I AM sayings (Greek: ego eimi) in the Gospel of St. John enjoys such widespread acceptance as I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14).  This week I uploaded Episode 34 in the AIC Bible Study series The Holy Bible: the New Testament in which I complete my discussion of both I AM the Door and I AM the Good Shepherd.  For that video I prepared a detail from the Mayer of Munich stained glass window at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA.   This window is located in the upper wall of the Nave on the North side.  The Mayer artists created six-sided panels using soft pastel colors in shades of blue and green, separated by the black lead cames, making the red-robed image of Jesus appear to float on the light from the sky outside.  The technique is described in the AIC publication, Paintings on Light: the Stained Glass Windows of St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, available in paperback from my author page at Paintings on Light includes high-resolution pictures of 43 of the 46 stained glass windows in the Chapel.  Later this year or early in A.D. 2015, I will produce a DVD version to be offered through Amazon.

The Mayer artists depict Jesus with a lamb in His right arm, a shepherd’s crook (or crozier) in His left

Detail, Window 24, Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven, by Mayer of Munich, St. Joseph's Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA. A.D. 1931
Detail, Window 24, Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven, by Mayer of Munich, St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA. A.D. 1931

hand, and a small flock of lambs at His feet.  The lamb in His arm wears a small bell around its neck, signifying that it is the lead lamb which the others will follow.  The same type of bell appears in another window at the Chapel, The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven, in which the Blessed Virgin also holds a lamb in her arms.  It is one of five small windows located on the ground floor in the South Aisle.

Jesus is indeed our true Shepherd, following in the image of the Twenty-third Psalm (“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….”) and other shepherd imagery from the writing prophets of the Old Testament.  As Jesus tells us in John 10, He knows His sheep and they recognize His voice and will follow Him.  He assures us: “I have come that they [the faithful sheep) may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV).  The Old Testament and New Testament models for Jesus as shepherd are discussed in detail in the “Shepherd” entry in Layman’s Lexicon, another AIC publication available at the Amazon author site linked above.

In the Greek language, shepherd is Poimen.  The classic Eastern Orthodox depiction of Jesus as Good Shepherd is available as a printed icon on a wood base at St. Isaac of Syria Skete, Boscobel, WI (stock number I061114a).  The icon is labelled in the background, O Poimen, O Kalos, which means Good Shepherd.  The halo includes the three Greek letters meaning I Am that I Am, the words spoken by God to Moses (Exodus 3:14, 15).

The next Bible Study video, Episode 35, will be focused on the final two I AMs, I AM the Resurrection and the Life and I Am the True Vine, the latter being part of Jesus’ final sermon to the Apostles before His arrest on the evening of Maundy Thursday.

The AIC publication, Christian Spirituality: an Anglican Perspective is now available in both paperback and Kindle version from my author page (use the link above).  The Kindle version was being uploaded this morning.  There is a discount for the Kindle edition for purchasers of the paperback edition through Amazon/Kindle.


Christian Spirituality: an Anglican Perspective

In light of the ongoing War on Christianity, the Anglican Internet Church Bookstore offers a new book which can help any Christian defend himself or herself against the assaults of the aggressively secular and often anti-Christian world.  The paperback edition will be available later this week from my Author page at Amazon.  A Kindle edition will be prepared later this month and also be available on  In the next few weeks the paperback edition will be available through your local bookseller (ISBN:  978-1502765147).

CS-Cover-Small-72Christian Spirituality: an Anglican Perspective is a handbook to the Eastern Church concept of Christian Spirituality presented in the context of the Anglican teaching and worship experience. In Part One I introduce the topic and present the writings of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the Blessed Lancelot Andrewes as examples of Christian Spirituality applied to Anglican worship and prayer.  In  Part Two (“Seeing” the Invisible God) I explore the two Old Testament understandings of “face of the Lord” and present the Christ Pantokrator icon from the monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai as the New Testament way of “seeing” God; then explore a new spiritual way of “seeing.”  In Part Three (Blessed Is the Man…) I explore the meaning and uses of Blessed is, blessed are, blessed be in the Psalms and New Testament, and the meaning of key terms:  godly, ungodly, righteous, righteousness, heart, fear of the Lord and way(s).  In Part Four (Put Not Your Trust in Princes…) I offer practical applications of the theory of Christian Spirituality in a 21st Century context of obsession with excess and offer guidelines for personal prayer development, the writing of personal catenae, and explore examples of Apostolic Wisdom, demonstrated in the work of two pairs of saints:  Paul & Peter and James & Jude.

Later this year I will develop a series of short videos adapted from the book, focused on specific topics mentioned in the book.  These will be available free of charge on the AIC’s You Tube channel.  Also later this year, the AIC will offer a new series of videos intended to make it easier for anyone, anywhere, to pray the daily hours (offices) of 1st, 3rd, 6th and 9th Hours, plus Vespers and Compline from Hear Us, O Lord: Daily Prayers for the Laity (also available from my Amazon author page).

The Blessed Lancelot Andrewes – September 25th

Among the great teachers of Christian Spirituality within the Anglican tradition is the Blessed Lancelot Andrewes. Bishop Andrewes was by any standard, an exceptional man. Born in London in 1555 A.D., the eldest of 13 children of a merchant/sailor, as a child he exhibited the habits of a serious scholar, disciplining himself to study daily, uninterrupted, from 7 AM to Noon. At Cambridge, he studied Greek, Latin and Hebrew, receiving his first degree in 1571 A.D., followed by a masters at Oxford in 1581 A.D.  He spoke and wrote in Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke), Syriac, Arabic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and 15 modern languages.  He taught courses in the Catechism and the Ten Commandments at Cambridge University, was chaplain to Queen Elizabeth I and her successor, James I, and chairman of the committee responsible for the first twelve books of the Old Testament (Genesis to 2 Kings) for the King James Version (1611 A.D.)He held nearly all the honors possible in the Church of England, short of being Archbishop of Canterbury: Dean at Westminster (1601 A.D.), Bishop of Chichester (1605 A.D.), Bishop of Eley (1609 A.D.) and still later Bishop of Winchester, a post he held until his death in 1626 A.D. The Church of England celebrates his Feast Day on September 25th.  The illustration is an oil on canvas in the English style, c. 1660, artist unknown.

Launcelot_Andrews_(1555-1626),_English_School_circa_1660Andrewes was among the first in the Western Church tradition to understand that Spirituality and Theology (from two Greek words, Theos (God, or the One who sees), and logos, meaning word, are not mutually exclusive. He saw theology as a way to gain a vision of God (or, as St. Peter wrote, a way of partaking of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4)). He believed that liturgical worship was not an end in itself but a means toward combining the concept of time, an exclusively human understanding, with the concept of eternity, a state occupied only by God.

Advocates of Christian Spirituality, who believe that through this combination one can come the closest to a union with the Creator that is possible in this earthly life.  The AIC celebrates his blessed memory with this catena of his own creation:

Blessed, praised, celebrated, magnified, exalted, glorified, and hallowed by Thy name, O Lord; Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou king of saints; Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. Alleluia.

This material is excerpted from the forthcoming AIC publication, edited by Fr. Ron Shibley, Christian Spirituality: An Anglican Perspective, to be published in paperback and Kindle versions in time for Advent A.D. 2014.