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St. John the Evangelist – Br. John Braught

Br. John BraughtThe beloved disciple reclining next to the heart of Jesus is the icon of our relationship with God. From this image we begin to grasp the nearness of God to us, the intimacy he shares with us, and the extent in which God cares for us. As foundational as this belief may be, however, if you are anything like me, you need constant reminders, as apparently the early Christian communities did as well. There is this reminder in the first epistle of John: “We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.”

We need reminders because beloved as we are, this does not exempt us from experiencing darkness –betrayal, loss, grief, death.  We face these things every day, we get distracted by the darkness, so we need reminded of the light, of God’s great love for us. We need reminded that God is taking care of us. These reminders are not just so we will accept the testimony of our friends, the Scriptures, or the preacher, important as that may be, but so that we will recall the ways we have already experienced God’s great care for us. So that we will recall, for example, from what we have already been saved.  By that I mean there have been things in your life that have been dark and difficult, and you’ve come through it, given the grace to face it, head on, in the light, and you are probably stronger and wiser for it. And in hindsight you can probably see God’s care for you all through it. So remember, from what have you already been saved.

We give each other these reminders because recalling that God cares for us helps us to face today’s challenges. This is because our faith is both a belief and a power.  When we believe that God is taking care of us, we are given the power to face our fears and challenges, confident that we will be given what we need, as we were in the past. This is what enabled the beloved disciple to take his stand with Mary at the cross of Jesus and not hide from the suffering of Christ.  It is why the beloved disciple was the first to comprehend the resurrection of Jesus, and to recognize the risen Lord when he appeared to the disciples. The beloved disciple remembered his experience with the lord, he remembered the intimacy he shared and he knew how much Jesus cared for him. This remembrance enabled him to remain faithful to Jesus’ call to “remain until I come”, that is to abide – to stick it out. Knowing that come what may, Jesus is taking care of him.  We too can claim confidence by remembering. Remembering that because God always was taking care of us, God is taking care of us, and though darkness will come again, so the God of light will be with us all evermore.  Amen.

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11 Comments

  1. Ruth West on December 27, 2016 at 21:43

    Br. John, thanks for this good message.
    I have a tendency to put the negatives of my life far behind me, lest I dwell on them. However, I can see that we do need to be reminded again and again of that from which God has delivered us. I am being reminded as I meditate on your sermon. Thank you, and thanks be to God for that deliverance!

  2. Jack Zamboni on December 27, 2016 at 10:45

    A reminder much needed today. Thank you!

  3. Elizabeth Hardy on December 27, 2016 at 09:15

    Br. John: You remind me of something I heard a preacher say: Being Christian does not guarantee the absence of suffering, but the presence of Joy. Thanx for today. I was grousing about a little thing this morning and your message reminded me of a huger thing God has delivered me from.

  4. Christopher on December 27, 2016 at 06:21

    Thank you Bro John.

  5. Reminder | The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana on December 27, 2016 at 00:07

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  6. R Black on October 31, 2016 at 08:19

    I so appreciated these words . . . “we get distracted by the darkness” and “We need reminded that God is taking care of us.” This post was my prayer answered this morning. Thank you.

  7. Rhode on October 31, 2016 at 07:51

    It is good to remember the serious darkness God pulled me out of. He alone sustains me and I know now His mercy and grace are everlasting.
    When Dorothy & friends finally get to the door in the film the Wizard of Oz, the chorus in the background sings…”Come out of the dark, Come out of the night. Step into the light, Walk up to the door and bid it Open! Open!” ….Indeed!

  8. Marta E on April 24, 2016 at 23:53

    I read and “loved” Presiding Bp Katherine’s sermon, particularly about the “greenness” of God’s love. It is a wonderful image to carry forward this time of year when all is “greening”, everything in the garden, many things in academic life, and hopefuly within myself as well. Also, the image of the “Beloved”, and that we also are Christ’s “Beloved”. It is a role into which to aspire to grow . . . . . .

  9. Margaret Dungan on April 24, 2016 at 15:40

    Thank you Br. John,

    You have said so much in a few words. They are like that .
    ‘treasure hidden in the field’
    Margret.

  10. Elizabeth Hardy on April 24, 2016 at 08:58

    Thanx Br. John. Needed to read this today. Facing some medical uncertainties of my own and this helped quiet me. Blessings.

  11. Pam on January 16, 2013 at 09:38

    Thank you so much for this encouraging word, which I needed NOW! Yes, I “remember from what I have been saved.” God’s job is, after all, taking the broken and making it whole and beautiful. Reminds me of Br. Curtis’s recent posting about remembering. Remembering all the ways God has always been with me i
    s very important–it gives me strength, it gives me courage, it helps me move forward in obedience with God’s plan.

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