He Is Mine, I Mean I Am His

By Jennifer Woodruff Tait

May 20, 2023

Scripture — John 17:6-11 (NRSV)

I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.


We all belong to Jesus. We are all loved by the Father. We are all empowered by the Spirit. We are all God’s. Even (especially?) when we make mistakes.


My mother was a church musician. Even before she directed choirs and played the piano professionally as an adult, and even before she majored in music education in college, she was often drafted as a talented teenager to play the piano for musical events at the Methodist church in South Jersey pastored by her father.

As anyone who has ever been part of a local church knows, not everything that happens at church is Instagram-ready or free of error. My mother had many stories about things that went wrong, or wrong-ish. One of them centered around an old gospel song called “I Am His and He Is Mine.” It’s loosely based on this Sunday’s beautiful prayer from John 17 that Jesus makes in the upper room, especially the phrase, “All mine are yours, and yours are mine”—though, as with many gospel songs, it takes the Scripture verse as a jumping-off point to reflect on how the love of Jesus permeates the life of the believer. The first verse probably hews the closest to John 17:

Loved with everlasting love,
drawn by grace that love to know,
Spirit sent from Christ above,
thou dost witness it is so.
O this full and precious peace
from his presence all divine;
in a love that cannot cease,
I am his and he is mine.

Each verse ends with the phrase (referring to Jesus) “I am his and he is mine,” as you’ll see when you listen to it later.

Thus it was that my mother was playing the piano when a soloist from the congregation who had a fairly high opinion of herself was scheduled to sing this hymn one Sunday. (In the words of my great-grandma, she “didn’t hate herself none.” But I digress.) Up stood the soloist and launched into the hymn with great diva fervor. Industriously my mother accompanied. All was going swimmingly until the soloist hit the last line of the first verse—and got it the wrong way round. And corrected herself, with perfect diction, in front of everybody:

“….in a love that cannot cease,
He is mine, I mean I am his and he is mine…”

My mother claimed that, though the song was finished in due course, nobody was quite the same afterward.

For a long time, I loved to tell this story just because it was funny. But today, on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, when my mom and my grandpa and my great-grandma and the self-important soloist are all now with Jesus in a love that cannot cease, I realize that the joke was on me all along.

We all belong to Jesus. We are all loved by the Father. We are all empowered by the Spirit. We are all God’s. Even (especially?) when we make mistakes.


How are you Christ’s?

How is Christ yours?


Well, of course, you have to listen to the whole song now, right? Here is a video of a soloist (I love his enthusiasm!) and here are the lyrics. Bathe in the love of Jesus as you listen.


(Prayer for the Seventh Sunday of Easter in the Book of Common Prayer) O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Banner image by Rohan Reddy on Unsplash.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Farewell Words: Upper Room Discourse (John 14-17).

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Jennifer Woodruff Tait

Editorial Coordinator

Jennifer Woodruff Tait (PhD, Duke University) is the editor of and frequent contributor to Life for Leaders. She is also the managing editor of Christian History magazine and web editor for the

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