Mary’s Joy, Our Joy – Br. Jim Woodrum

jimwoodrum_1Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth
Luke 1:39-57

2014-03-24 20.07.11I’ve spent a lot of time lately praying the mysteries of the Rosary and in particular the Joyful Mysteries.  Many of you are probably familiar with praying with the Rosary but if you’re not, the Rosary is a series of meditations from scripture about Jesus (on themes of joy, sorrow, and glory) as seen from the vantage point of his mother Mary.  After each meditation you say a series of repetitive prayers while you contemplate the particular mystery.  As a point of interest you’ll note that the windows in the Lady Chapel are all scenes from each of the mysteries of the Rosary.   Continue reading

The Greatest Prayer – Br. John Braught

johnbraught_1John 16:20-24

One of the great strengths of the Christian faith is that it does not shy away from the fact of pain and suffering. We worship a crucified Lord.  We worship a God who knew pain.

Jesus says we too will have pain, and none of us probably need reminded of that. What we might need reminded of is that Jesus promises that our pain – much like the pain of childbirth – our pain will be turned to joy. “So you have pain now,” Jesus says, “but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” We don’t just worship a crucified Lord; we worship a resurrected and ascended Lord. Our faith is the assurance that though we will have pain – and all of us have, and many of us do – though we will have pain, our faith is the assurance that there is hope, and there is resurrection. When we see Jesus again, and we will, our pain will be turned to joy. Continue reading

Look To the Glory! – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Ascension Day

Look to the glory!  Look to the glory!  Words that the brothers will know very well, words often on the lips of our founder Richard Meux Benson – who loved this day – the Ascension – a day so central to his life and spirituality: Christ, risen and glorified, reigning in heaven, and through the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.

I was sitting in the chapel yesterday afternoon, reflecting on the readings for today, and those words came to me: “Look to the glory” – and I looked – and there, high above the altar, I gazed at the crucified Lord.  The cross, which for St. John is the glory: the place where God’s glory was manifested, most perfectly revealed, as self-giving love.  The cross which reconciles heaven and earth, reconciles God and humankind.  The cross which opens for us the gate of glory.  “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32) Continue reading

The Work of Our Hands – Br. Mark Brown

Rogation Day II

Ecclesiasticus 38:27-32
Psalm 107:1-9
Matthew 6:19-24

This Thursday is Ascension Day: forty days after Easter, always on a Thursday.  On Ascension Day the Church remembers the culmination of Christ’s resurrection appearances and ponders the mystery of his ascending into heaven.  The mystery of Christ being all and in all, sustaining all things by his mighty word, filling all things with his own fullness, grace upon grace.

But today is a Rogation Day. The three days before Ascension started out as a kind of mini-Lent with fasting and praying and processions. Prayers were offered especially for good weather and bountiful crops. Over the centuries things have evolved a bit.  In our 1979 Book of Common Prayer the three Rogation Days are devoted to prayers for fruitful seasons on Monday, for commerce and industry on Tuesday, and for the stewardship of creation on Wednesday.  Today is Tuesday, so it’s commerce and industry day. Continue reading

Worship of God – Br. Curtis Almquist

curtis4Acts 17:22-31
John 14:15-21

In the life of Moses, in Hebrew folklore, there is a remarkable passage. (1) Moses finds a shepherd in the desert.  Moses spends the day with the shepherd and helps him milk his ewes.  At the end of the day Moses sees that the shepherd puts the best milk he has in a wooden bowl, which he places on a flat stone, some distance away.  So Moses asks him what it is for, and the shepherd replies, “This is God’s milk.”  Moses is puzzled, and asks the shepherd what he means.  The shepherd says, “I always take the best milk I possess, and I bring it as an offering to God.”  Moses, who is far more sophisticated than the shepherd with his naïve faith, asks, “And does God drink it?”  “Yes,” replies the shepherd, “God does.”   Continue reading

Sermon for Thursday after Easter 5A – Br. David Allen

davidallen_1

Here is my sermon preached this morning at the Monastery.  The theme of today’s sermon developed as I used the portion of Abp. William Temple’s “Readings in Saint John’s Gospel” with his reflections on the part of John 15:9-12, and related verses for my “Lectio Divina” (Daily Meditations) over the past two weeks after I had seen that I was scheduled to preach on this date.  I found much inspiration and spiritual value in that reading, and my own reflections on it.    This morning even though it was too late to try to incorporate it I was very much taken with Abp. Temple’s suggestion that joy is the condition or state of the soul that is filled with love; as joy comes next after love in Paul’s listing of fruits of the Spirit as, e.g. we see them listed in Galatians 5:22.

– David Allen, SSJE

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Life is Full of Meaning – Br. James Koester

Acts 14: 19-28

If you close your eyes for a moment you might be able to find yourself looking at a map of the north eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. There scattered along the coast and somewhat inland you’ll find on your map some of the cities we hear about in tonight’s lesson from The Acts of the Apostles: Antioch and Iconium, Derbe and Lystra, Pisidia and Perga and Pamphylia. Most of us would be hard pressed to find these actual places on a map, but there tucked up in that corner of the Mediterranean that today comprises south eastern Turkey and north western Syria, you’ll find them, all within a few hundred miles of each other. It is a part of the world that Paul and Barnabas knew well and back and forth, and around, and back again they went. It is as if you or I spent our time going from here to Newburyport, over to Lawrence and up to Manchester and Concord, over to Portsmouth and down to Plymouth and back to Cambridge, then up again to Lawrence: back and forth, up and down, over and through. In each place, Paul and Barnabas stopped. In some they found a ready welcome. In others confusion and uncertainty. In some they found curiosity, and in others hostility. Yet back and forth they went, over and over again. Continue reading

Living Stones – Br. David Vryhof

I Peter 2: 2-10

I came to a greater appreciation of what’s involved in building a church or cathedral out of stone a few years ago when I read Ken Follett’s popular novel, Pillars of the Earth.  One of the lead characters in the story is a builder who takes a job working on a cathedral in medieval Britain.  We watch and learn with him as he struggles with the architectural challenges of his day:  How tall can the walls be made before they become unsteady and topple over?  How thick do they need to be in order to bear the weight of the roof?  How can windows be put in to allow light to enter, without weakening the structure of the walls?  The story records accidents and setbacks along the way as new designs are tested.  Various types of workmen are needed, craftsmen in stone and wood and iron.  It’s clear that building a cathedral in medieval Europe was a dangerous and risky endeavor, a significant challenge for all who were involved. Continue reading

Hear My Voice – Br. Luke Ditewig

John 10:22-30

Jesus says in our gospel text: “My sheep hear my voice.” They hear my voice. They are listening to me. The greatest prayer in Judaism begins: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” This prayer is called the shema, from the first word “hear” or “listen.” This is the central prayer repeated over and over through life and the first one children are taught. When people asked Jesus what is the most important commandment, he quoted the shema: “Hear, O Israel” That’s number one, the most important thing to do: listen.

God continually invites people to listen through the Bible. The prophets call: “Listen to me, my people” (Isaiah 51). The psalmist cries, “Hear, O my people … oh, that you would listen to me.” (Psalm 81) Trouble comes when people do not listen to God. Blessing and healing occurs when they do listen, for listening is the beginning of conversion.  Continue reading

Summer 2014 Cowley

The Summer 2014 issue of Cowley takes up the theme of Gratitude.

Summer_Cowley-2014Click on the links below to read selected articles from the Summer 2014 Cowley Magazine:

  1. Br. Curtis Almquist invites us to a practice of gratitude, viewing life as a gift, not a given. (And online bonus: there’s a video, too!)
  2. Monastic Intern, Raphael Cadenhead observes the ways that life in community transforms and ‘sharpens’ us.
  3. Monastic Intern, Sarah Brock reflects on the practice of setting aside our burdens and stress to rest in God
  4. Monastic Intern, Matthew Tenney shares his gratitude for the everyday graced moments of this life.

There are many ways to read and share this Cowley magazine:

Tell us what you think of this Cowley Magazine in the comments below.
We welcome your comments, letters, or ideas for future articles.

Brother, Thank You -åÊMatthew Tenney

Matthew TenneyThis year, three exceptional young people took part in the Monastic Internship Program, living, worshipping, and working alongside the community for nine months. We asked them to reflect on what they would take away from the experience. Here is what Matthew Tenney had to say:

In reflecting on my time living and working and praying alongside the Brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, I’m reminded of Canon Henry Parry Liddon’s praise for the Father Founder: Continue reading

Help Us Let It Be – Sarah Brock

Sarah Brock - 1 This year, three exceptional young people took part in the Monastic Internship Program, living, worshipping, and working alongside the community for nine months. We asked them to reflect on what they would take away from the experience. Here is what Sarah Brock had to say:

“Lord, it is night. The night is for stillness. Let us be still in your presence. It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done. What has not been done has not been done. Help us let it be.” So begins one of the prayers we often lift up at the office of Compline. Upon hearing it prayed aloud during my first week as an intern, I was drawn in by the poetry of the words and particularly by this desire to let go of the work of the day and be still. It has been true for most of my life that there is no end to the work that needs to be done. Every time I cross an item off of my to-do list, it seems I also add at least five more.   Continue reading

As Iron Sharpens Iron – Raphael Cadenhead

This year, three exceptional young people took part in the Monastic Internship Program, living, worshipping, and working alongside the community for nine months. We asked them to reflect on what they would take away from the experience. Here is what Raphael Cadenhead had to say:

Raphael Cadenhead - 2

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). How, exactly, does life in community transform and ‘sharpen’ us?  This question has been on my mind since I arrived at SSJE in September, and I’m only now beginning to grope for an answer. Continue reading

A Gift, Not a Given: Living Gratefully – Br. Curtis Almquist

I first learned the power of gratitude as a young boy at a theater performance. The playbill was so carefully scripted – except, it turned out, for one thing that happened at the very end. As the curtain dropped and the stage lights dimmed, the audience spontaneously sprang to its feet with a thunderous applause and great cheers. The actors undoubtedly needed to hear our gratitude, but what brought us to our feet was our need to express gratitude. Expressing gratitude completes the experience.  Continue reading

Easter IV – Br. Robert L’Esperance

robertJohn 10:1-10

Preaching from the common lectionary, as we do here at the monastery, presents challenges.  One reason for this is that we often listen to texts read as though they stand alone.  When, in fact, they are often part of some larger narrative.  Often we are unaware of the context of a particular passage.

For instance, this morning we hear Jesus telling the Pharisees that anyone who enters the sheepfold except through the gate is a thief and bandit.  He’s not, at this point at least, calling himself the good shepherd.  That will come later.  For now, he calls himself the gate saying that “Whoever enters by [him] will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”1  Why does he say this and what does it mean?  In my reflections this morning on Jesus as the gate to greater life, I would like to take us back a couple of chapters in John’s gospel. Continue reading

This Side of Easter – Br. Jim Woodrum

Read by Br. Jim WoodrumJohn 6:60-71

It’s the Eve of the 4th Sunday of Easter, and we’re still basking in the glow of Easter Day.  At my table at supper last night we were discussing how Texas has already reached temperatures of 95 degrees, and in Mississippi the tulips and dogwood flowers are but a faded memory.  But here in New England the flowers are just now popping up and the new foliage has that bright minty green hew.  This year’s winter has been hard, but praise God, the signs of resurrection are now all around.  How interesting then it is to hear today’s gospel on this side of Easter.

Those who had been following Jesus had a different idea of what Easter was supposed to look like.  They could buy into Jesus’ message of freedom and redemption, but they were hoping for freedom from the iron grip of Rome.  When they realized that Jesus was speaking about freedom of a spiritual nature, they left and returned to their homes.  How disheartened Jesus must have felt as he turned to his chosen inner circle and asked, “Are you going to leave me also?” Continue reading

Sample Pentecost Post

Back to Celebrating Pentecost Page

Pentecost: English, Español, Français, Italiano, Sign – video, Oji Cree, Português.

Spirit:
On this day, we celebrate the Good News and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that has enabled us to receive it and to offer it to others. It has transformed our lives, given us courage and hope in the face of trouble, and reassured us in the knowledge that we are deeply loved by God.

Espiritu:
En este día, celebramos la Buena Nueva y la efusión del Espíritu Santo que nos ha permitido recibirle y ofrecerlo a los demás. Ha transformado nuestras vidas, nos ha dado el valor y la esperanza frente a los problemas, y nos tranquiliza al saber que somos profundamente amados por Dios.

L’Esprit:
Ce jour nous célébrons la Bonne Parole et l’effusion du Saint Esprit qui nous a permit de la recevoir et de la transmettre aux autres. Elle a transformé nos vies, nous a donné courage et espoir pour faire face aux difficultés et nous rassurer en sachant que Dieu nous aime profondément.

Lo Spirito:
In questo giorno, festeggiammo la Buona Nuova e l’emissione dello Spirito Santo che ci ha consentito riceverlo ed a poterlo ofrire agli altri. Ha trasformato la nostra vita, ci ha dato il coraggio e la speranza davanti alle difficoltà, e ci ha rassicurato nella sapienza che siamo profondamente amati per Dio.

Spirit:

ᐊᒐᐠ:
ᓄᐣᑯᑦ ᑲᑭᓯᑳᐠ, ᑭᑐᒋ ᒥᓄ ᒥᑲᐃᐧᓂᐣᑕᒥᐣ ᒥᓇᐧᒋᒧᐃᐧᐣ ᒥᓇ ᑲᓯᑭᓇᒪᑯᐊᐧᐠ ᑲᑲᓇᑎᓯᐨ ᐊᒐᐠ ᑲᐃᐧᒋᐃᑯᔭᐠ ᒋᑭᐅᑕᐱᓇᒪᐠ ᒥᓇ ᒋᒥᓇᔭᑭᑕᐧ ᑯᑕᑭᔭᐠ, ᐋᐣᒋᓇᑯᒋᑫᒪᑲᐣ ᑭᐱᒪᑎᓯᐃᐧᓂᓇᓂᐠ, ᑭᒥᓂᑯᒥᐣ ᐁᑳ ᒋᔕᑫᐧᓂᒧᔭᐠ ᒥᓇ ᒋᐊᔭᔭᐠ ᐊᐯᓂᒧᐃᐧᐣ ᒣᑲᐧᐨ ᑫᑯᐣ ᐁᓇᑭᐢᑲᒪᐠ ᒪᒋᓭᐃᐧᐣ ᒥᓇ ᑭᐃᐧᐣᑕᒪᑯᒥᐣ ᒥᑐᓂ ᐁᓴᑭᐃᑯᔭᐠ ᒪᓂᑐ.

Espírito:
Neste dia celebramos as Boas Novas e o derramamento do Espírito Santo, que nos capacitou para recebê-lo e oferecê-lo aos outros. Ele transformou nossas vidas, nos deu coragem e esperança em face dos problemas e nos confirmou no conhecimento de que somos profundamente amados por Deus.

Pentecost Sample Post

Back to Celebrating Pentecost Page

Pentecost: English, Español, Français, Italiano, Sign – video, Oji Cree, Português.

Spirit:
On this day, we celebrate the Good News and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that has enabled us to receive it and to offer it to others. It has transformed our lives, given us courage and hope in the face of trouble, and reassured us in the knowledge that we are deeply loved by God.

Espiritu:
En este día, celebramos la Buena Nueva y la efusión del Espíritu Santo que nos ha permitido recibirle y ofrecerlo a los demás. Ha transformado nuestras vidas, nos ha dado el valor y la esperanza frente a los problemas, y nos tranquiliza al saber que somos profundamente amados por Dios.

L’Esprit:
Ce jour nous célébrons la Bonne Parole et l’effusion du Saint Esprit qui nous a permit de la recevoir et de la transmettre aux autres. Elle a transformé nos vies, nous a donné courage et espoir pour faire face aux difficultés et nous rassurer en sachant que Dieu nous aime profondément.

Lo Spirito:
In questo giorno, festeggiammo la Buona Nuova e l’emissione dello Spirito Santo che ci ha consentito riceverlo ed a poterlo ofrire agli altri. Ha trasformato la nostra vita, ci ha dato il coraggio e la speranza davanti alle difficoltà, e ci ha rassicurato nella sapienza che siamo profondamente amati per Dio.

Spirit:

ᐊᒐᐠ:
ᓄᐣᑯᑦ ᑲᑭᓯᑳᐠ, ᑭᑐᒋ ᒥᓄ ᒥᑲᐃᐧᓂᐣᑕᒥᐣ ᒥᓇᐧᒋᒧᐃᐧᐣ ᒥᓇ ᑲᓯᑭᓇᒪᑯᐊᐧᐠ ᑲᑲᓇᑎᓯᐨ ᐊᒐᐠ ᑲᐃᐧᒋᐃᑯᔭᐠ ᒋᑭᐅᑕᐱᓇᒪᐠ ᒥᓇ ᒋᒥᓇᔭᑭᑕᐧ ᑯᑕᑭᔭᐠ, ᐋᐣᒋᓇᑯᒋᑫᒪᑲᐣ ᑭᐱᒪᑎᓯᐃᐧᓂᓇᓂᐠ, ᑭᒥᓂᑯᒥᐣ ᐁᑳ ᒋᔕᑫᐧᓂᒧᔭᐠ ᒥᓇ ᒋᐊᔭᔭᐠ ᐊᐯᓂᒧᐃᐧᐣ ᒣᑲᐧᐨ ᑫᑯᐣ ᐁᓇᑭᐢᑲᒪᐠ ᒪᒋᓭᐃᐧᐣ ᒥᓇ ᑭᐃᐧᐣᑕᒪᑯᒥᐣ ᒥᑐᓂ ᐁᓴᑭᐃᑯᔭᐠ ᒪᓂᑐ.

Espírito:
Neste dia celebramos as Boas Novas e o derramamento do Espírito Santo, que nos capacitou para recebê-lo e oferecê-lo aos outros. Ele transformou nossas vidas, nos deu coragem e esperança em face dos problemas e nos confirmou no conhecimento de que somos profundamente amados por Deus.

I will raise you up on the last day – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

The disciples had just witnessed the extraordinary feeding of the five thousand and marveled and wondered what it could all mean. And in their hesitating and stumbling way they ask Jesus what is this new thing which is happening.  And Jesus in those stunning words, ‘I am the bread of life’ is making a connection between bread and life; anew kind of life. The bread of life gives life to the world, and I, Jesus, am that bread. ‘I am the living bread. If you eat this bread you will never be hungry again, because if you eat this bread you will live forever. And the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ Continue reading