Collaboration 1: Listen

Question:

Can you love as a witness? Can you be a listener rather than a savior?
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Transcript of Video:

In my experience, community is healing and loving by how people come alongside and witness my experience. Witness my wounds. Witness my grief. Witness me right where I am. Often Jesus has done something inside that is freeing and liberating and life-giving and I then want to share. And it’s the person who comes alongside and listens and acknowledges my pain, my hurt, all that I’m feeling, whatever I am able to share who collaborates with Jesus, who does further healing with Jesus, by witnessing my experience. Letting me be honest and open by another being a safe and trustworthy person.

I think one of the challenges for us is that we think that it has to be someone special. That they have to be in a particular role or have particular training to be able to love or collaborate in this way. But anyone can listen. It is a skill. It can be worked at. This desire not to fix but to be with. To stand with another that they might withstand the world, withstand their experience. It’s choosing to be alongside maybe not saying a word but showing that you’re really there with them that enables another to heal. That gives loves to another. You can do it. Anyone can do it. All of us together listening, loving another, we bring healing to the world. We collaborate with Jesus who came in next to us. We are with Jesus in loving the world.

– Br. Luke Ditewig

Don’t You See? – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke DitewigJohn 9:1-41

One of my brothers sees in a way that I don’t. He walks into a room and immediately senses things in others and in me to which I’m oblivious. Sometimes he says: “Don’t you see?” and I reply: “No, you’ve got to tell me. I can’t see.” That’s hard to say, to realize we’re in the dark while another can clearly see. To realize a limitation, one we didn’t even know about, in light of another’s ability.

In today’s gospel story, Jesus walks along and sees a person who is blind. The man doesn’t ask for help. Jesus doesn’t ask what he wants. Jesus goes to him, makes mud, puts it on the man’s eyes and tells him to go wash. The man does and returns healed, able to see. Continue reading

Love Life: Collaboration Conversation

This week’s videos will take up the theme of Collaboration. As you get ready for the week, we invite you to listen in on a conversation about Collaboration between the Novice Guardian, Br. David Vryhof and Brs. Luke Ditewig and Jim Woodrum. We hope their questions will start your thinking about your own, and give you a glimpse into the Brothers’ daily life as monks who look to the Gospel of John to guide their own lives of love. We hope this coming week will help you to #LoveLife.

Question:

Are you being called to collaborate with others or with God to be more fully alive?
Write your Answer – click here

Love Life: Participation Compilation

We are pleased to share in this Lenten journey with you. Today’s offering is a compilation of the five Participation videos. We hope this compilation will help you to catch up on any videos you might have missed, as well as providing an easy way to share the week’s videos in a group. Let us know how this week went for you!
Watch the Videos. Write your Answers. #LoveLife

Questions:

Participation 1: List three attributes of God that matter most to you.
Write your Answer – click here

Participation 2: How can you uniquely reflect the love of God today?
Write your Answer – click here

Participation 3: What’s got you half-dead?
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Participation 4: How is God inviting you to change?
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Participation 5: Pray your name today. What do you hear?
Write your Answer – click here

 

Dare Ask Questions – Br. Mark Brown

Mark BrownHosea 14:1-9; Mark 12:28-34

“After that no one dared ask him any questions.”

I’m not sure why.  Jesus was simply agreeing with the man: to love God and neighbor is better than burning animals.  Why would they dare not ask questions?

I don’t know.  But I’ve got plenty of questions for the next time I see Jesus.  What were you doing before the Big Bang?  How did you come up with the design of the atom?  Can you explain quantum mechanics?  How long will I live?  Why do you allow so much suffering in this world?  Can’t you do more?  I’d like to think I would dare ask questions. Continue reading

Participation 5: Name

Question:

Pray your name today. What do you hear?
Write your Answer – click here

Transcript of Video:

The other passage that sends shivers up and down my spine is the encounter between Mary Magdalene and Jesus in the garden. And the reason why I love that passage is because she enters into this conversation with the gardener, you know, “If you have taken him away tell me where you’ve taken him and I’ll go and get him.” And she doesn’t recognize him in that initial conversation. And it’s not until he says her name, “Mary,” that she recognizes the risen Lord and she responds with, “Rabboni,” teacher.

And so sometimes in my prayer I simply allow myself to hear my name, you know, in my prayer have my name spoken and I can think of all the different people who have said my name. And sometimes my name is said crossly [laughing]. And you can tell when somebody is angry with you by the way they speak your name. But you can also tell when somebody loves you by the way they say your name. And so sometimes in my prayer, I simply allow myself to hear my name spoken and hear the love in that voice James, Jamie.

– Br. James Koester

Sermon for Thursday after Lent 3 – Br. David Allen

DavidA_2008_031Jer. 7:1-15, 23-28

The message of our First Reading, from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, is that God gave this commandment to his people; “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you; so that it may be well with you.” (Jer. 7:23) But the response to this was; “They did not listen to me, or pay attention.” (Jer. 7:26)

In order to understand more clearly what Jeremiah was saying we should look back to the beginning of chapter 7.  Continue reading

Participation 4: Change

Question:

How is God inviting you to change?
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Transcript of Video:

You know, all of us know that transformation, change, always has challenges and pain involved in it. And I can remember lots of times in my life when I’ve gotten to a place where I think, “Okay, I know we’re on a little plateau here, God, but I’m not really ready for any more challenges and I don’t really want much more pain in my life. I feel like I’ve done that.” And I think about God just kind of smiles and says, “We’re moving onto the next place. We’re going deeper and I’ll be there with my spirit to support you and help you but it’s just part of life.”

And I think the most wonderful thing about it is that I always know that it’s not the voice of God or the movement of God in my life if it’s something that feels too difficult and too isolating. That whenever God is offering me a challenge, I also have this great sense that well this might be difficult but the spirit will be there and the spirit will … well, the yolk will be easy and the burden will be light.

– Br. Tom Shaw

Participation 3: Life

Question:

What’s got you half-dead?
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Transcript of Video:

One of those stories in John’s gospel which has always captivated me is the story of the raising of Lazarus. This extraordinary moment where Jesus walks up to the tomb and speaks those words, “Lazarus come out,” and Lazarus begins to move. There is a wonderful sculpture of the raising of Lazarus. I believe it’s in the Chapel of New College in Oxford by Jacob Epstein. What I love about it is that there is Lazarus coming out of the tomb but only half of him is coming out and the other half is still in the tomb and you get this sense that he’s not sure that he wants to come out because there’s something comfortable about the familiar even if you’re half dead. And I think that Jesus is calling us to new life and we have to say yes even though new life often can be rather fearful because it’s unknown. But I don’t believe that Jesus will ever leave us in a place where we are not fully alive. I think he’s constantly calling us everyday to become more alive because the more we become, the more I become the Jeffrey that God created me to be, the more I glorify God. And I would say the gospel of John another wonderful theme is the theme of glory that, “Where Jesus is there the glory of God shines forth and that we are meant to shine forth with that same glory as well by becoming fully alive in Christ.”

– Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Participation in Love – Br. Curtis Almquist

curtis4Song of Songs 1:8-13 | John 15:7-11

“Each of us should have two pockets,” the rabbis teach.  “In one [pocket] should be the reminder, “I am dust and ashes,” and in the other we should have written, “For me the universe was made.” (1) For you the universe was made.  Why so?  Why did God create the universe?  Why did God create you?  Out of love.  For the love of it.  But I’m speaking here of your being not just the object of God’s love, but also the subject of God’s love.  God needs you.  Those are the shocking words of Meister Eckhart, the 14th century German mystic. (2) God needs you.  And centuries later, Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher, would confirm the same: “You know always in your heart that you need God more than everything; but do you know too that God needs you?”  Continue reading

Participation 2: Purpose

Question:

How can you uniquely reflect the love of God today?
Write your Answer – click here

Transcript of Video:

We’re talking about a dynamic which the prologue to John’s gospel kind of gets for us because, you know, son isn’t used right away it’s word. It’s this spoken word. It’s word is action. Word is love. God speaks creation into being. God breathes then, you know, there’s the spirit is how humankind and the whole creation are enlivened.

So it’s this kind of dynamic of a relationship that we’re speaking about that has chosen to take on the wholeness of humanity. Jesus has a soul. God has a soul. Jesus has a human heart. God has a heart. All of these things taken on are signifying truths about how we really reflect the image of God and not only what our origin is but also what our real destiny is, you know, that we’re actually being incorporated into this circle of love. What we call the incarnation is something that is taking place in all of us continuously in the whole human race. We’re being filled with the life of God each of us but always reflecting it in a way that only we can do.

– Br. Jonathan Maury

Participation 1: Incarnation

Question:

List three attributes of God that matter most to you.
Write your Answer – click here

Transcript of Video:

I keep coming back to the idea that we’re part of the ongoing embodiment or incarnation of Christ in the world, we’re the body of Christ. I have a kind of trinity of divine qualities or divine attributes that I think of here and one is love, God is love. And in the prologue it says, “That through Jesus Christ grace and truth come into the world.” So my little trinity of divine attributes, love, grace and truth, those are what I tend to fasten on. If I’m thinking how can I, how might I, how might we, incarnate or embody or make real, make concrete in this world the divine attributes, I think well what would be loving in this particular situation. What would be graceful or gracious or gratuitous or grateful in this moment or what word of truth might be spoken or what truth might be sought after. Both the seeking after and the speaking of truth participate in that word being made flesh even now as we speak. And I think things are most incarnational of the divine nature when they embody all three of those qualities of love and grace and truth.

– Br. Mark Brown

Love Life: Participation Conversation

This week’s videos will take up the theme of Participation As you get ready for the week, we invite you to listen in on a conversation about Participation between the Novice Guardian, Br. David Vryhof, and Brs. Luke Ditewig and John Braught. We hope their questions will start your thinking about your own, and give you a glimpse into the Brothers’ daily life as monks who look to the Gospel of John to guide their own lives of love. We hope this coming week will help you to #LoveLife.

Question:

Are there areas in your life where you are being called to new life?
Write your Answer – click here

Love Life: Invitation Compilation

We are pleased to share in this Lenten journey with you. Today’s offering is a compilation of the five Invitation videos. We hope this compilation will help you to catch up on any videos you might have missed, as well as providing an easy way to share the week’s videos in a group. Let us know how this week went for you!
Watch the Videos. Write your Answers. #LoveLife

Questions:

Invitation1: What acts of friendship have you initiated or received this week?
Write your Answer – click here

Invitation 2: What makes it difficult for you to love?
Write your Answer – click here

Invitation 3: Can you approach your chores today as a meditation?
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Invitation 4: Be playful today. Write a prayer with a twinkle
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Invitation 5: Sit still until you can hear your heartbeat. What did you experience?
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The Gift of Our Life – Br. John Braught

Br. John BraughtMatthew 21:33-43

If you have ever experienced jealousy, and few of us are exempt I imagine, then you know how imperialistic an emotion it can be.  Rooted in comparisons, jealousy drives our attention away from what is good and positive in our own lives, and forces us to focus instead on what we what we lack, on what we desire but do not have, or, on what we do possess and are afraid to lose.  It might be the attention and affection of another; or, someone else’s success, health, wealth, a beautiful home, a devoted partner, a dream job, a white-picket fence. Jealousy drives our attention to some privilege we see or imagine others enjoy, which, because it is lacking in our own lives, suddenly appears, in the time of jealousy, essential to our happiness and well-being.  Continue reading

Invitation 5: Intimacy

Question:

Sit still until you can hear your heartbeat. What did you experience?
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Transcript of Video:

I once used this for a retreat. I asked people to reflect on this and I asked them what they thought various parts of it meant. And afterwards, one of the people came up to me and said when they looked at John’s hand here it just seemed that he was tickling Jesus [laughs], which probably isn’t what the iconographer had in mind. And yet there is something really kind of delightful about that image of John being so close to Jesus, both emotionally and physically, that he can tickle Jesus. I mean, you don’t, or you probably shouldn’t, tickle people that you don’t know [laughing], boundaries, boundaries. But here John is so close to Jesus that he could potentially be tickling him. I don’t think that’s what John is doing here but it’s kind of fun to imagine that.

I think what John is doing here is he’s pointing to this image of love and in itself is an image of love, John reclining on the breast of Jesus and in such a way that perhaps John can hear the heartbeat of Jesus here. And so that’s a – if you were going to pray with this icon, that’s another way that you could pray with this icon just simply to see if you can quiet yourself down so much that you can hear your heartbeat and just become aware of your heartbeat. And in a sense by becoming aware of your heartbeat becoming aware of God’s heartbeat and God’s heart beating in love for you.

– Br. James Koester

Invitation 4: Play

Question:

Be playful today. Write a prayer with a twinkle.
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Transcript of Video:

One of the things that inhibits adults at so many different levels is the misguided sense that we have to be serious all the time and we really need to try to recapture our playfulness. I think that play is so close to pray, you know, they just go hand-in-hand. And so when you approach prayer, approach it seriously but not with seriousness. Know that God wants to play with you. That playfulness is all around. God has a really strong sense of humor.

– Br. Eldridge Pendleton

Invitation 3: Identity

Question:

Can you approach your chores today as a meditation?
Write your Answer – click here

Transcript of Video:

One of the words which we Brothers use very frequently is invitation and we’re always asking ourselves, “So what’s the invitation here?” Believing that life by nature is an invitation and it’s God’s invitation to participate in life, in God’s life.

I think certainly in a Monastery, and it’s probably true in your own life, a huge percentage of the day is tedious. We’re not climbing the spiritual mountains we’re washing the dishes, petting the dog, you know, cutting the grass, washing the clothes, getting from point A to point B. Most of life is that. And so I would say it’s in those contexts which may not be completely apparent. What is this to be about that we should be asking the question what’s the invitation here. What is the invitation in this moment?

It may be you’re passing by people on the street, you’re walking or you’re on a bus or a subway, you’re in commuter traffic, and you’re seeing people sitting beside you or seeing people through car windows. What are you seeing? Can you put a blessing on them? Can you radiate God’s light and life and love onto their being. We’re on this perpetual mission field that God is with us always and we would not want to miss a moment of life. If God is really present to us in the face and form of Jesus, Jesus is going to be really present to us in every passing moment. What is the invitation now?

– Br. Curtis Almquist

The Invitation to be loved – Br. David Vryhof

davidvI John 4:13-21 / John 3:1-17

Tonight is the second sermon in our five-week Lenten preaching series, “Love Life.”  In this series we have been focusing on the Gospel of John and its theme of love.  Tonight we consider the “invitation to be loved” which the gospel offers us.  We are invited by THE GOD WHO IS LOVE to enter into a loving and intimate relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…. and to extend that love to others, particularly those in the community of Christ’s followers and those who are in need.

In the First Letter of John we learn that “God is love” (I Jn 4:16) and that God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God” (I Jn 4:15).  This is the testimony of the believing community, who have come to know and believe the love that God has for us” (I Jn 4:16) through the testimony of Jesus and the testimony of the Beloved Disciple found in the Fourth Gospel.  They have discovered their true identity as beloved children of God and are learning to live – or to abide – in that identity.  “See what love the Father has given us,” the author exclaims, “that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are!” (I Jn 3:1) Continue reading

Invitation 2: Beloved

Question:

What makes it difficult for you to love?
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Transcript of Video:

It’s so hard for me to love. It really is. You know, I run up against it almost every day here in community. And I find it hard to love because I forget my own belovedness. And if I remember that this was something I could bring into the forefront of my consciousness, my love for other people, which is there, would flow so much more freely. But it really, you know, it does go back to a level of self-rejection. Self-rejection happens to us when we forget that we were loved before we received any human love. We were loved before we came into our human existence, if there is a love primary to and before all other loves, all human loves that we ever experienced, and we have to reclaim that knowledge of our belovedness that is not dependent on human approval or human love.

– Br. Robert L’Esperance