Introduction 1: Conversion
Where can you know abundant life? Where can you still grow?
Write your Answer – click here
Transcript of Video:
We are Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist and so we have a particular dedication to the fourth gospel and to its witness, it’s a unique witness among the gospels. All of the gospels are important. They all teach us about Jesus and illuminate who He was and why He came and what He accomplished in a variety of ways. We find a particular affinity with the gospel of John, the fourth gospel. And as our rule says as we come into this community, we’ll learn to love and appreciate this gospel. In the chapter, in one of the chapters of our rule it says, “If we are truly called by God into this society we can be sure that the gospel of John will be an unfailing source of life and light for us. If we become intimately familiar with it by prayer and study, its riches will prove to be limitless. In times of difficulty when we’re tempted to turn away, we should trust that this gospel will be our rock and mainstay.”
And I certainly experienced that. My life has very much been shaped by this gospel and by its message. And this is the purpose of our six-week video series here to try to share this gospel with you and its message about love and life. The title of our series is Love Life and we want to talk about the abundant life that Jesus promises us in this gospel. And we’ll be looking at it through a variety to themes: revelation, invitation, participation, collaboration and location. We’ll look at those themes over the course of the six weeks. But we’ll be really sharing from our hearts what this gospel means to us and what we believe it can mean to you all.
-Br. David Vryhof
My experience of abundant life comes from children and youth. First my grandchildren whose energy, joy, wonder, sense of humor and delight are palpable. Second, I feel the abundant love of God whenever I am with an urban ministry serving children an youth in the city where I live. The young people who work there are so given to God that it is always a blessing to be with them and always enlarges my faith and gratitude.
Where do I need to grow? These young people radically trust God to provide for every need. I want to do likewise letting go of doubt, fear, worry, forecasting and the “terror that lurks at noonday!” In other words, once you give something to God, do so abundantly and completely, not taking anything back through anxious,negative thinking.
Betsy, Oh my goodness, thank you for your encouraging words. That is where I lack is when I turn it over I just can’t leave it alone. I will do better thanks to your words because you let me know I’m not alone. Blessings to you.
Abundant life for me is being filled with the Holy Spirit and sharing the message of God’s Love, Grace, and Redemption of us, in the music of our praise band, in rehearsal and in times of worship or concert. So much of scripture has been written into my heart by the singing of our music and lyrics.
Jesus said, ” I am the way, the truth and the life.” “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. If Jesus is my life, his plan for me is to have a full, abundant life. But only when I abide in Him. He alone.
Abundant life for me is being filled with Gods love, and giving it to others, in His name. For me , the growing never stops. At present, its having faith, that “All will be well.”
I find abundant life in service to others.
Abundant life means to focus on the many blessings of my life and not take even small things for granted. It means starting the day with speaking to God about how thankful I am for the abundance of my life and how blessed I am to be a child of the most high God and be loved by Him.
Where I can grow is in not being fearful about the future. I have been anticipating some major changes in my life and while I know they are coming, the waiting period is slow and tedious and I have to concentrate very hard on not doubting (even for a second) that those changes that I have been praying for are coming. Ask and you shall receive! Staying faithful and patient in knowing the changes are coming in God’s time not in mine.
The new word that God is speaking to me today is “redemption and transformation”. God is showing me that I can trust him and that I cannot truly imagine what tomorrow will bring. God is a mystery and that makes me smile.
The abundant life – what does it look like? Smell like? Taste like?
My husband lives in the cloud of dementia. Hears every sound. Smells and tastes the world around him and gives thanks to God. But his world is also full of confusion. Who is he? Who am I? When can he go home?
Is there an abundant life somewhere? For him? For me?
I am truly blessed with a very loving husband and friends. I want to return the love as abundantly as I experience it without criticizing and judging others. I want to be more accepting and loving.
I can know abundant life through the love our Lord Jesus Christ and his teachings. I can still grow by continuing to try to live by his teachings and following his examples.
God’s abundant love for me is overwhelming. I can still grow by believing that when I ask it will be freely given by God.
I know abundant life through my Church family, worship, and the Holy Communion. Also, through prayer and meditation.
Abundant life is the cancer in me, like another personality who takes me to oncologists and scans and therapies . Meanwhile my wife and I have taken up regular mindfulness meditation, a vegan diet with no alcohol or coffee or salt and sugar, and Yoga in the morning after reading Forward Day by Day. I see this regime as under the Lordship of Christ, a new experience fo me, who has mostly seen Christ as Saviour Not totally new as I knew .christ as Lord when I was a Church Rector. We are trusting in The Lord for a good outcome in the sense of St. Theresa,s. ” everything suffered in love is healed”
Everyday that we are alive presents us with the opportunity to grow; to fine tune those actions that are God-like and to weed out the actions that are contrary to God’s love, which knows no bounds.
I believe abundant life is found through allowing Christ through the Holy Spirit to guide us in our everyday lives in all things. If we can have an ongoing dialogue with Him during the day, and we listen to His direction, then abundance comes our way, in the form of open heartedness and love in all we do and with everyone we do it with.
I too need to learn to let go of old hurts and move on. There is too much good in the world and other people to hold on to pain. Hate, anger, and lack of forgiveness are toxic.
I know abundant life in the love of my son and the family life that we share together. I can still grow and learn to better express my love with my larger family, my church family, my work family, my friend family, nurturing those relationships daily.
I feel deeply blessed in my outer life right now – my relationships, my work, my home and community and church environment. All around me is abundance that nurtures my well-being and gives me opportunities to serve and to love and to be part of God’s creation. Yet, my inner life has so much room for further growth. Solitude, rich inner solitude that I can carry with me through the day, whether I’m alone or with others – solitude that I share with God who speaks the language of silence – is something that I desire to further cultivate this Lent. I want to pray more, listen more, and enjoy the fruits that come from this inner quiet and depth. Right now I feel that my outer life feeds my inner life, but I want to begin a shift so that it is my inner life that overflows abundantly into my outer self and outer world, enriching and blessing it from the well-spring of inner prayer.
I think the abundant life comes through sharing. So I am going to try and be more open and sharing spiritually, socially and physically
In my work as a legal aid lawyer doing family and immigration work for victims of domestic violence I experience an upwelling of divine presence as I strive to offer a compassionate presence. Remaining in my compassion with the assistance of the Holy Spirit is the place where I can still grow and the place where I know abundance and nurture.
Abundance for me means fullness. By fullness I am speaking not of busyness, but rather a sense of connectedness and purpose that fills my day. Too often I find myself frustrated and angry at being pulled in too many directions at once and trying to stomp out the little fires that pop up. It is this running in place and not going anywhere feeling I get that makes me feel like I am not living the life God called me to live. The fullness and richness of life is replaced with time consuming chores that lead nowhere. I honestly want to have that experience of abundance where I know what I am doing with my life matters and I am fully integrated into the Body of Christ.
Abundant life for me would be to know Jesus more fully and to try to live by His words and actions. I need to reign in some of my emotions ,such as hurt and anger, more and trust more in God to help me with these feelings. I experience abundant life through prayer but know that I could do much better in that regard.
When I think about abundant life, I think about how my life has changed over the last several years. I retired in July 2012. Richard Rohr talks about our second half of life. My life is now more spiritual. I find it in my readings, my daily life and in the work that I do every day. My wife and I have three grandchilden but they our not a party of our daily lives for they live several thousand miles away from us. But God has provided other children in our lives. Our godchildren and children in our church which we minister to each and care for each Sunday and during the week. Secondly, for the last 4 years we have been serving a hot meal and providing clothes, shoes, sleeping bags and tarps to the homeless in our community in conjuction with Shasta Community Health Hope Van which provides medical, mental, dental and vision treatment to those less fortunate then ourselves. This service that we provide is a join effort by 5 local churches in our area on a rotational basis each Monday. This is God’s calling to us. My wife and I make soup each week to be served to the homeless and they are so grateful for these gift. Our lives are so filled with abundence.
I find abundant life in the ordinary, in my children’s faces, in the faces of children in Haiti and Honduras. I also see it in a perfectly formed shell, in a bird chirping on a branch, in St. Francis of Assisi. I grow by reminding myself to appreciate all of these amazing gifts surrounding me each day. There is richness in revisiting the ordinary and listening to John’s Gospel helps me see the light in all of it.
I know abundant life through God and his Son Jesus Christ.
I believe that I can grow by continuing with this workshop and learning from it.
I think I really find abundance in gratitude.
Abundant life? Honestly, I can’t seem to find it in traditional places, such as church, prayer, the scripture, etc.. I feel locked out and disconnected. The only time I feel abundant life is with my horse and dog. That’s when I get a connection of love.
The word I hear today (and most days, if I’m paying attention) is trust.
I have found abundant life in trying to follow the teaching of Jesus, although I have failed him many times, he has given me a long, fruitful life. I can only thank him by trying to do his works.
Answering “What new word is God speaking to me today?”
Certainly on Ash Wednesday I heard the words repent, restore and forgiveness. Forgiveness for sins I have done and forgiveness from me to those others who I feel have been behaving harmfully.
Forgiveness can restore us to right relationship with God and between us and each other.
Answering “Where can I know abundant life?”
The location of abundant life is, of course, in Christ.
For me I find that presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit most evident when I am in worship with others in Christian Community.
God’s Word always seems so complex in its beautiful simplicity to me. Lately, the nudge has been to find love within patience and hope. Two things that can be difficult to hold on to when times are difficult.
The Word of the Lord is both old and new, both eternal and evolving, in order to teach us deep truths, and also to guide us in our daily lives; it is a gift of love and grace.
For me, the new word comes in trying to wrestle with the challenges of everyday life. When I can be peaceful with the interactions that are difficult for me, I believe it is because I am letting Christ into my troubles.
i find this in three places:
1. In the Eucharist
2. In the practice of silence
3. In being aware of God’s presence in every person and in all creation. To stop and smell the roses, or the beauty of a tree in the dead of winter, knowing new life is close at hand and in the face of every person I see during the day.
My need is to practice silence more deeply, especially when I am in conversation with someone whose attitudes are so different from mine.
I need to think
The word I hear is “Refresh”. This is a time to re-evaluate everything and discard that which has become stale – from milk in the fridge to long-held attitudes and beliefs about myself and the world around me.
I have a lot of room for growth in my prayer life.
Look forward to the journey
I have used this word so often when thinking of God in many ways but now I see how important the word really is to me, God loves us infinitely, etc. I see that it is my finite mind that isn’t totally getting it all at times.
3/7: what new word? no answer until bedtime last night when i was reading the st francis prayerbook intro that relates a conversation between francis and leo wherein francis is telling leo how to reply to francis’s own statements of his (francis’s) sinfulness that is to be in agreement. yet every time leo replies it is with unscripted word’s from God of God’s love for francis. at first,francis is frustrated by leo’s seeming disobedience but then leo explains that he cannot help himself. how can i see the word in those unscripted moments of my life when people speak a word? first,expect it? second,get past my initial (often wrong headed) reaction to surprise? third,reply in kind with unfiltered words of caring and love? each day God brings me many opportunities for new words-open my eyes!
there is not a single positive or negative area of my life for which the future does not hold possibilities for growth/change. the keys are recognition,courage and energy;put in a negative manner-ignorance,timidity and sloth. the first step is putting enough time aside to till the garden of dreams.
My new word is generosity. Of my time, money, resources, spirit. To meet people where they are for Christ’s sake, not mine.
The 2 phrases which have caught my attention today are “anonymous holiness” & “in the ground of our beseeching”. Both are related to the study of Julian of Norwich in our Rivendell Community & the first relates to finding ways that we have been blessed by the holy without knowing who has been the messenger for that blessing. Our cultivating the habit of paying the blessing forward anonymously makes a great Lenten discipline, I believe. The 2nd phrase ends the 3rd section of T. S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding” where Eliot quotes Julian’s famous “all shall be well” & warrants more thought, but relates to the God to whom we pray who is utterly good & provides an ultimate “wellness.”
I find abundance in everything about living by the sea –
Not sure I “heard” the Word today – will keep searching and listening…
The word that stays with me after reading Jn 1:19-51 is when Jesus invites Andrew and the other disciple to “come and see”. That is what I am hearing, the invitation.
The word of God for me today is that God sees me,. cares about me, and loves me with an everlasting love.
I answered the question before watching the video (oops!) but will share it anyway: I think that I could have abundant life if I were able to be more present to my children and to open myself more completely to the joys of family life.
What new word of God is speaking to me today? Listen and trust, when I am open and look and listen I always find that what I most need to hear is there even when I don’t know that that is what I need, that “All will be well, all manner of things will be well”
Charity. Charity is the word that came today. Charity towards others, my self, and nature. Charity helps me live in the moment in the “what is,” rather than the “I want”.
The word resonating with me today is LIGHT. It is easy to celebrate the joy of light on a clear, beautiful day when the sun is reflecting off the recent dusting of snow. However, Jesus’ promise to us found in the Book of John is that following him will provide us with light even in the darkest of times. I must strive harder to accept “night” as part of the cycle of life, knowing that God always provides the light (be it a person, place or event) to illuminate our path.
Light is the word that came to me also. I need God to shed his light on the dark places of my life and reveal the child he would have me. I need his light to show me what he would have me do, feel, and say so that I may be a channel of his love.
I’m not sure Christ is speaking a new word to me but trying to get my attention for the “old” words: love, compassion, kindness. Judgment gets in the way. If I could remember to keep these three words (attitudes) foremost all the time, well what else would I need to walk down the Christ’s path?
The word God is speaking to me today is IMAGE. God invites me to be His IMAGE in our world every day. What a challenge! What a responsability!
God is saying “See me in everything”
i think we have to say our prayers to God and know and trust that God will answer them. Treat people how you would like to be treated. Help your brothers and sisters as they would help you if you needed it. we are here to serve when & where we can. be kind to one another. do the best you can and are able to do.giv e thanks for the health we have and are able to help one another.
Following up on what I wrote yesterday, I sense that God’s word to me today is that, for this Lent, I need to “give up” the negativity that sees the world as vaguely malevolent and God as judgmental; to see where in my life I grew to develop those beliefs, and realize they don’t necessarily correspond to reality. In essence, it’s a word of healing and liberation.
Action is what speaks to me this second day of lent. God calls me and you towards action in our lives to live out the witness of Christ. As the prophet Isaiah tells us, Salvation is offered to all of us. Perhaps, “less talk and more action” is an important reminder to us as we consider our daily and hourly options, as we respond to
“Gods call to us!”
This is not a really new word for me, but the word I feel God is saying to me today is pause. Pause to, reflect, to calm down, to endeavour to understand, to laugh at myself a bit as well.
It feels like the word is patience. Patience with others, with the world, but perhaps mostly with myself. I keep thinking of the serenity prayer. Some wisdom is maybe the word from which all things come.
“I know you’re afraid. You’re not alone. Let me help. Because I love you.” God has told me that in many ways. I’m still trying to let it inside, past my defenses. Part of me accepts it with wonder and gratitude, but part of me feels so totally unworthy. But the counter to that is in the “Because I love you.” God’s Love doesn’t hinge on worthiness or how I feel about myself on a given day. It’s a pure gift, not limited by human reasons or motives. God is Love. He wants to help. He wants us to allow that. Because of Love. And I want to live into that. Because of love.
Reflecting yesterday about abundant life brought me to thinking about Wonder. I have been reading a book by Michael Main in which he is writing to his grandchildren about developing the gift of wonder that seems to be so present in childhood,but diminishes as we age. That struck me as the word that God is calling me to think about. It is linked in my mind with Abundant Life.
My new word is hope for a troubled world and hope for a continued growth in faith one my own journey.
I feel God has blessed my family and me with abundance and he has blessed me with an attitude of trying to help others and share the abundance which I have been fortunate to receive. It’s not just material abundance but the intangibles, i.e. a long, happy marriage, good health, etc. My plan is to grow closer to God through participation in this series.
Pray for guidance
Forgiveness is the word that I am focusing on this lent. Forgiveness for myself. I am happy that the season of lent is here. I can hopefully find a new focus during this time and learn to forgive myself for not being wonder woman and always falling short of the ridiculous goals that i set for myself daily. Intellectually this is an easy concept….realistically…hmmm, not sure if I can break old habits.
I am getting the same message! Be kind and gentle with myself and others.
I believe the new word for the day is Courage!
Accept is my word for today. I think that through acceptance comes change where it is most relevant and needed.
I feel that the Gospel of John continually calls us to reflect on the abundant life that we are given by God through Jesus Christ. I feel that if we can just stop a little and see how much abundance we have and how gifted we are. Maybe during this season of Lent we can see ourselves a little clearer and begin to see ourselves and the world as God see’s it.
The abundance is overwhelming. It is so easy to act as though we are in perpetual winter and not see the sparkles in the snow, the individuality of the snowflakes, the courage of the wild creatures in the face of a storm. It is so easy to forget that Spring always comes, Love always wins, a crocus is due any moment. When we do experience and participate in it, so much of it simply washes over us. I need to remember to hold up a larger cup, and open myself more to receive.
Thus the word I feel nudged toward is:
My word has been re examination. Looking at my attitudes about people and situations and doing my best to see them with a loving spirit rather than a judgmental one.
repentance and reflection. These two words are the thread that weaves through (and must guide us through) this 40 day journey.
I think it was Thomas Merton who said “I am the spoken word of God.” I think that for me today, the word is “resurrection.” Yes, I know, it’s very early in Lent, and we don’t really celebrate that event for many more weeks. But in my personal journey, there has been much death- spiritual, inward death. Today is my 45th birthday, and I am contemplating the joy of having arrived at this day, having been renewed in my life through baptism. I feel as my broken and dead self has emerged, whole and blessed, able to serve again.
The new word is- “go deeper!”
I experience abundant life through hugs. The embrace of friends, old and new, allows me to physically experience God’s love.
I can grow by embracing the “other” more. I am comfortable with my friends and family, but I need to extend my comfort zone so that I can share hugs with more people.
Gratitude. I am so grateful for life. For all those people, family and friends, that bring joy, smiles and tears to my face. I am so aware of how brief the journey is in this life and what a gift graitude is. To retain that gift given to me I need to give it away daily.
Look and see and listen and believe and follow.
Not sure if I hear the word. I respond to need and nurture. I am happy to help. When things slow down I just want to nap.
The word that comes to me today is expectation. In order to find the Christ, we must expect that we will encounter Christ. This was the way it was for John and the disciples when they recognized Jesus as the Messiah.
Where can I grow? I need to open my eyes to see him and my heart to receive him wherever I am, but especially in my primary relationships at home. For some reason, it is easier to do in less intimate environments and relationships.
Radical. Radical love. A radical, full embracing of life. Why this word popped up is a bit perplexing & wil require some thought during the day.
The word open, to be aware and open to God in and around me in ways I may have not been able to see in the past. Open to His presence in me, around me, in others and always and forever at work for Good.
An abundant life is what it’s all about! It is in every breath I take and surrounds me all my whole life long. It is the gift given to me – a true miracle! It becomes scarcity only when I let fear set in. Again and again we are told “fear not”. I believe love and fear cannot exist together so when scarcity seems to be taking over and fear enters my being, it is a sign for me to start that search once again for love and bring it back into my being. I believe Jesus as God incarnate came to show us how to do this and was this. So my goal is to grow more and more into that love with every breath.
The word I’ve been given for today is “Acceptance”….of others, of myself, of whatever unwelcome events may occur today. I truly believe that everyone who touches my life (no matter how briefly) and every event in my life (welcome or unwelcome) has a purpose and with God’s help, ultimately works for the good of all concerned. My job for today is to live in a way that shows I believe that. To quote a very wise person, “and acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -some fact of my life-unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly as it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake”.
My favorite part of John’s Gospel is chapter 10. Now I am learning to teach the “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd it is particularly important to me.
When my son passed away at age 16 I took solace in the verses 12:14-15. He was raised in the church and knew Jesus as his savior, so I know he is with God. A mother can have no better comfort then that when she looses a child.
We need to be in community to fully experience the love and call of God in Jesus. Wither that community is a church, prayer group. or study group, it is only in community that we can fully experience our call of God in Jesus Christ. In my life I can honestly that it has been the support of many communities that have supported me in my most difficult times. I thank God for that.
Watching my church family waiting to receive the ashes, standing in line with their children and giving touches of love to those they file past; this is a moment of abundant life. Our children learn to love by watching us love. The image of this actually happening is a moment of abundant life.
My new word that came today is non-judgemental and I’ll try my best to get through the day without doing it with others and myself!
The word that comes to me today is awareness. Be aware of those around you and be aware of what God is opening your heart to see, hear and understand.
The word that comes to me this day and in recent days is listen. Listen to those around me as they go about their daily lives. Listen to those calling for guidance, acceptance, assistance. Listen to nature as it speaks of God’s love for us. Listen to His Word from the Bible. Just listen.
Then to respond to the message heard in one way or another.
I know abundant life in:
1. the tenderness, dedication and care of my partner and children..
2. In the opportunities to minister as Director of Liturgy at my parish.
3. At a Bible Study Group for elderly persons at the local Lutheran Church.
I still need grow as becoming a more loving person.
I know abundant life when I sit still and simply accept God’s abundant love for me and for the world. Then my cup spills over and i know how deep and wide God’s love is and i see connections in my life that are leading me deeper into grace. When I am racing around complaining about small or large obstacles, I get in my own way and I grieve the spirit and it all seems like a desert. But when i sit and pray and breathe and worship … I see the ever flowing streams and hear the Word of love and life.
Question: Where can you know abundant life? Where can you still grow?
Am I the only one to have such a hard time understanding and answering this question? Did I miss a critical step by not reading the workbook first??
As posed, my reflex was to answer it as a biologist–I know abundant life everywhere. (Good grief, you can’t get away from it on this planet!) But then the second guessing starts–what do you mean by ‘abundant life’?
A quick search of the phrase came up with companies selling spas, stoves, and seeds, a half-dozen or so churches, and then, finally the origins of the phrase in John:
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
How did I make it to 6 decades and not even recognize ‘abundant life’ as a phrase from the Bible? Different wording, I guess. There, the word is used as an adverb; here, you’ve used as an adjective. And why say ‘know’ instead of ‘have’? Perhaps because you want to include those who might know of or about abundant life but have not yet learned how to have it? This question sent my thoughts rattling around my head like BBs in a tin can rolling down a hill!
Anyway, if you mean “Where (or how) can you live more fully (in or with Christ)” I guess I’d say whenever or wherever I’m helping others and am therefore less in myself.
Where can I still grow? Everywhere, any way, every way. But mostly in cultivating patience with others. And maybe with myself, too.
thank you AB – you have spoken my thoughts almost exactly. The abundant life from and with and through Christ is a different matter than literally abundant life around me ( I am a midwife). Although they are parallel and similar in many ways; it is my hope to be closer to living a life as Christ lived with an open heart, full of love, patience and nonjudgment.
It seems to me very important to realize: abundant life around us can (and painfully does, at times) disappear. Abundant life in and with God is what we long for — and often don’t recognize that longing for what it is. Growing into this kind of abundance …that is the Christian way. Of course it blossoms into service, into giving, into open-heartedness.
I must say that I agree with you also. God has given us abundant life on this planet and I love learning about everything around me. I also feel that the phrase “abundant life” is different for each person. Does it mean lots of money? Getting to travel far and wide? A big house and fancy cars?
To me it means having the ability to give to people in need and to share my talents with my church and my community. Now that I am retired, I can do things that I want to do, sure still have to clean the house and make food for the family, but I can reach out to others as well. God has shown me that these are my gifts. I try to use them whenever possible and He has richly rewarded me with great friends and enough money to be content. Life is good.
The word I am learning again is trust. I am working at letting go of my anxieties and trusting that I am being an instrument of God’s peace.
Live in abundance- i.e. the abundance of joy for the life that has been given to us in other words …live with gratitude
When I first saw this question, I panicked. My life is a cup running over. I praise God daily for putting me in this time and place. If my life were any more abundant, I would explode. So I stopped and asked God: But, Lord, where can I grow? That left me stymied. And His answer to me was “Spiritually, you can grow in your relationship with Me.” And through the SSJE, I hope I see that happen. Thank you.
Through people, the Bible, myself, and my church. I know when I give myself in learning & teaching God’s word, I feel more fulfilled and the love in myself seems to burst forward. I seem more content, less angry, less annoyed with the negatives in this world.
I need to continue to go to church & be active in the growing love of the lord
I believe I can experience the abundance of Christ in all avenues of life! but right now during thins Lenten season, I want to especially feel this in my family. I have seen God do a mighty work in a family member recently and I know there is more in store!
Over the past two years I have been spared not once but twice from death. I suffered from two unexplained pulmonary emboli. The first embolus helped in teaching me to stop doing things my way and to listen to the guidance that is being offered. The second one started the process of changing my actions and thought processes to realizing there is a purpose for me to be here, now, and that I am needed for something. I am not quite sure what that something is, but in my growth I need to learn to be less willful, less judgmental, and more accepting, loving and open-minded so I can recognize when I am being guided.
I’m pretty sure that I’m marching to a different drummer here as the question I thought I was answering here is what new word am I hearing.
So I’ll just go ahead and answer that question.
The new word I’m hearing is that we are all loved, all of us, every single one, except that we’re not single, we are all one, all God’s creation, all the expression of God’s manifestation of God’s own self. And all of us are deeply cherished. I have sadness over the thought that one who has taken his/her own life would ever be loved less. Two of my grandchildren have passed from this realm and my deepest comfort on those occasions was that they now are fully home with their Creator who has restored them to Joy.
There have been times in my life when I was overcome by shame, and my comfort then was that no matter what, I am surrounded by the unconditional love of the Holy.
That’s not the parental love I grew up with, but somehow I’ve learned that this Love, without conditions, surrounds me. My challenge is to let it in, and to live it as well as I can.
I struggle to keep the vision of Abundance and abundant life alive in my heart and the hearts of others with all of the fear that keeps me and so many of us hostage to the Scarcity model of economy… I believe in a new and as yet lived life of abundance for all… I pray to be able to make that vision of life come true in my heart and the hearts of my children and their children… I find abundant life in the hope, love and connections made in the romantic nature of our lives and from a well written story about that life.
I experience abundant life in the Eucharist. I can still grow by continually reminding myself that I am not the judge. Non-judgement seems to be necessary in being present to the hurts and pains in this wounded but wonderful world through the lens of grace. To be present to victim and perpetrator, rich and poor, happy and sad, bride and widow. I pray to grow in grace.
I think God is tell me today that nothing happens in God’s world by accident. That I need to trust in him and he will provide for me. Not necessarily what I want, but what I need. I need to stop trying to force an out-come to be what I want, because what I want and what I need, may be two different things. Stop, wait, listen and recognize when I have been blessed and say thank you.
I very much relate to your words Kathleen. One of my disciplines for Lent is to try to practice the following advice from a twelve step program –
Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my ‘luck’ (ie: God’s will) as it comes and fit myself to it.
Rest. I think God is giving me a word of rest. I’ve started a new job, and all the hectic life that entails in a church from Christmas to Easter involving children…but I think God is saying to me to use Lent as a time to restore my soul, to rebuild my energy. To allow myself to be quiet and still.
Abundant life, I have very really and recently admitted, is only available through Jesus. I’ve been a Christian for a very long time. I am fascinated with the church and its history, and I love reading theology. I love to attend church, and I glory in the music and liturgy. Still, I’ve kept Jesus at an arms length because I knew deep down that to genuinely encounter Jesus personally would mean a radical change in me and the way I lived my life. (Even the name “Jesus” made me uncomfortable; I much preferred “Christ.” It’s so much less personal, no?) If I’m honest, I have to admit that I reveled in my sin for a long time. Occasionally, I was sorry for my distance from God, but never was truly repentant. I became such a hard and isolated shell. I was miserable. At last, I realized that I was truly powerless over sin. The shell began to crack, and Jesus has seized the opportunity to come into my broken heart.
I have so much growing to do, and there’s not an aspect of my life that doesn’t need nourishment to achieve that growth.
Being grateful is a start, and I’m very grateful to the brothers of SSJE for their guidance in this Lenten opportunity for self-examination. I pray that I will faithfully seize it, and genuinely realize a return to God.
God bless you all!
Your post spoke to me. Thank you for helping me hear God’s word to me.
Abundant life for me is found in the tension between the now and the not yet, between the being and the coming true, between what Primo Levi the noted Holocaust survivor called “the drowned and the saved”. In this numinal space where we are catapulted onto the frontier of the spiritual life by intention, design, or accident, our salvation gets worked out and we find God’s intended hope. We can claw our way into relationship with God as if we were climbing the face of a mountain searching for the next crevice to put our hands into, a respite, a place of safety until we must move again, or we can go into a free fall with or without belay trusting the God who is so other…. who is so Beloved and sees us as the same…. An example of this numinal place of abundant life for me is reconcilling the tension inherent in a young friend being miraculously healed from a massive stroke and brain anuerysm compliments of prayer and a fine nuero surgeon and on the same floor of the same hospital celebrating the last communion with a young friend who died from a brain tumor….Abundant life if it is anywhere is found on the worn path between those two rooms and in the hearts and souls of those who come in and out of them. I can grow by paying closer attention to what happens in rooms 209 and 214 and in the hall way in between.
Listen – Listen to what God has in store for me and what wonderful things are happening in the lives of others through prayer.
I first had to figure out the meaning of “abundant life” and then meditate on where I recognize it in the journey. I recognized where I was not experiencing abundant life as I recently retired and needed to use my days more productively other than sitting on the couch reading and watching TV. God saw fit to impart a part-time job as Sexton of my church. Getting into the routine posed a differenent situation in seeking life on the journey. How do I experience abundant life in day to day repetition? Today I realize after much thought that as I practice my routine my mind is drawn to spirit songs and find myself singing them and then experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in the singing…experience a light…experience joy…and these are fruits of an abundant life in Jesus.
God’s word for me today is CHANGE. Seek intentional opportunities for change.
Today I heard more clearly the word repeated over and over in study and training and meditation. God speaks to and from my center. God is in and of me, not separated, but essential to my being.
I believe abundant life is found in doing the work we were given to do. It is finding a vocation that allows you to love what you do, a vocation that serves the needs of others. I need to grow in appreciating all aspects of the work I have chosen to do, and accept that there are very real moments of dislike, that should not short circuit the love that is still there.
Polly, I so appreciate this candor. Your words resonate with me.
Abundant life: Is found when I take up the cross and follow Jesus.
Growth: Union with God.
Probably one of the biggest challenges we face, as American Catholics living in the new millennia, is discerning how G-d calls us to apply His teachings within the context of modern society in an economically well-developed country. The attitudes that give rise to American popular culture are constantly evolving. One reason for this is that the United States is arguably the most culturally diverse nation on Earth. In the midst of such diversity, the Gospel message of G-d’s unconditional love and compassion gives us hope that we all can, in fact, live peacefully together.
The “new” word God is speaking to me today is HONESTY.
Peace not a new word, but a good one and hard to find.
I am a liberal and peace is hard to find. I just read where efforts to get 6 months of unemployment money might be voted on today in Senate. Great news for the suffering, right? But it is to be paid for with social security cuts. No peace.
A little boy from our parish is fighting cancer. Strong enough to take stronger chemo. No peace.
Yet, somehow, that is what I am called to find. And, I do with my family and the church. I am wrestling with my parish now in finding peace there. They refused to allow information about the Affordable Care Act in our church. It was a very quick vote with not much prayer or discernment, I thought. I must trust that it was for the best. Peace thx for thist Lenten series Peace
I think it’s possible to experience abundant life everywhere, it just requires a certain mix. God is omnipresent, therefore God is everywhere and where God is life is rich, full, and infused with love. The issue comes in the ability to experience this, because we’re human and have an annoying habit of only rarely being in a state open to experience God’s presence.
As for growth…I am continuously growing. There are aspects of myself I try not to feed; jealousy, irritation, judgment. I find that by feeding the aspects of myself that are inline with Christ’s teachings I inherently grow closer to the person I strive to be.
I can see the abundant life around me, as proclaimed by Jesus in the Gospel of John, through the love and support that I feel from my family and friends, to know that I am not alone; and the love that shines through them is a reflection of the love that God has for me. It is a personal and intimate love that transcends all sorrow and loneliness, that light that shines when all other light has disappeared. When that love flows to me from others then I know that I have experienced a glimpse of the abundant life promised to us by Jesus.
My growing edge is learning how to better reflect that love that I experience to others. I feel that I so show and share that love but not all the time. I believe that I can be more open, more forward, and more vocal in sharing the love of God with others.
The dawning realization of abundant life is the area in which I have the most room to grow. Having spent far too many of my days experiencing life as something to be endured, I crave and treasure the energy and connection that is God. I strive to nourish the sense of hope that is necessary to live life abundantly. Prayer, worship, and walking in God’s creation are all part of that for me. The paradox of trying to live into the abundance of life for me is that I feel I must actively pursue it. I have too much experience living without being able to feel confident in life as something good, and, yet, I know that the way to access it is to relax and be and accept the gift that God offers.
I have been blessed with abundance all my life, yet when I had nothing God still provided enough. When I felt unloved, God was there to love me unconditionally. When I struggled with direction, God has shown me the way. Each day, each moment, God teaches me to grow closer and more open to all the possibilities God provides. Each day teaching me to grow more in glorifying God by compassionately bringing the awareness of God’s presence to every person in the world.
I believe that I can know abundant life through joyful sharing of God-given talents and skills in community as called by God to do. To grow more, I need more and deeper conversation and fellowship with God.
My description of abundant life would include good health, a loving and enriching church home, family and friends and music. In order to grow I must continue to pray, read, study and trust by letting go and letting God direct me away from the din of the world so that I might “listen for the still, small voice”.
I find abundant life in working with youth. As I am not yet married and I do not have any children of my own, spending time teaching and playing with the children of our parish lets me share Christ’s love with others.
I think we all have room to grow spiritually. That is why we are here.
Abundant life is, to me, the natural order of things when I manage to separate myself from my worldly existence…an all-too-rare event, particularly in light of what I have learned over the years via SSJE’s ministry. I can grow every which way…but elusive silence is still what beckons!
I find abundant life in service to others and in creation. I became a grandfather last month and I am astonished at the miracle of new life. As a 60 year old, I want to full of possibilities and to be so full of wonder for the world.
I sometimes feel overwhelmed by knowing I have an abundant life – family, friends, a beautiful country in which to live. I know I could grow closer to my understanding of God’s message in the Bible.
For me lately the only abundant life has been at Church especially during the Eucharist. Peace is a hard thing to find.
Abundant life for me started when I was born again, with the Holy Spirit taking up residence within me. He began a major transformation of my heart, and He has been faithfully teaching me about the heavenly Father’s great love for us all, and how to deepen my love for family, friends, enemies, the poor, the lost and the needy among us.
I need to be more conformed to the image of Christ to be more effective in communicating the gospel rightly.
Abundant life — such an evocative term. For me it is glimpsed more often than experienced, but experienced through community. Five years ago I left my home of 22 years for a new job across the country, and a year later my husband died after living with cancer for 6 1/2 years. I’m still trying to find/build a community that nurtures me in my new home. As many others have noted, grief, work, and anxiety work against it.
Its important to me to remember that the abundant life offered by communion with God — which I most often experience in community — needs to be at the heart of my life.
I thought it would be easier to name the areas of my life that are not abundant. I feel God working with me in all that I do, even though I’m not good at listening all the time.
I still need to grow in prayer, as that is where I think that I will be better at listening.
I experience abundant life in my relationships with other people – family members, friends, parishioners, members of the larger community. And I can grow in accepting and receiving greater abundance by being more open to the people in my life as they are, and not as I want them to be. My tendency to judge is the greatest barrier to experiencing more abundance
I’ve experienced abundant life as a volunteer in the playroom of a shelter for homeless women and kids. The kids have been through trauma and upheaval, and sometimes they have problems getting along with each other. But they have such a desire to grow and learn and even to work through their anger. They have such a capacity to love.
Where I still need to grow is in my own capacity for resilience. I must learn to let go of old hurts and also to be open to new possibilities.
Abundance in life surrounds me. While I often see, appreciate, and appropriately act on that, too often my misconceptions delay doing so.
I can still grow through stillness to be open to God, through prayer and scripture reading, and through community in appreciation and action.
Having been a priest for over 50 years I have seen abundant life in the people of the Church, the messy lives, the joys, sorrows, epiphanies, deaths and births. And in my own family’s growth in age and development.
Now retired I enter a new growth beyond the parish lives into the general world not limited by the Church.
This morning I looked on as a beloved infant friend nibbled once on the host as he was held in his grandmother’s arms. It made me (quietly) burst into tears for some reason. What more would anyone hope for, for a little one just beginning? In such inherent danger, so small, helpless. To see the first taste taken in such trust, trust in abundant life. To trust from the first taste.
Abundant living is every moment of each day WHEN I am in the moment and not distracted by the little things of daily life. I feel soooo blessed !!
I need to grow in all areas and look forward to every part of it. A major “To Do”………..Let Go-Let God !!
I know the abundant life in my children. I am hoping to find a deeper life within myself — a closer spiritual connection.
I find abundant life in the many blessings I receive from God. He takes wonderful care of my family and me, suppling all our needs at all times – even when we question??? He is present in every breath I take, in every smile and in every tear. I wish to grow in patience and acceptance of others, in appreciating all the blessings I have and not worrying about what others think, say or have. He is all I need forever.
Abundance for me is a loaded word full of conflict – what I’m ‘supposed’ to have but don’t in terms of living in the world and its expectations.
From an internal, more spiritual perspective, abundant life is a different experience. It’s not always easy or clear, and sometimes painful, but it is rich and rewarding. It is fulfilling for me.
When I go within, my questions are gently answered. I am awakened bit by bit through Christ’s teaching. And I am strengthened.
Where can I still grow? In every way and every direction.
I know abundant life through my Cathedral – the new and dear friends I’ve met – my new family – and the volunteer work I do there. I only just ‘found’ my new home and rediscovered my Faith a short five months ago, but it feels like I have been there forever.
I’ve been working diligently, but definitely still need to continue to put a concerted effort into being truly selfless.
It has been quite the journey of discovery. And love. Abundant, joyful, unconditional love.
I am grateful for the abundant life I find in teaching and serving as a priest, my wife and my home, sharing food and laughter with friends.
There are many places in my life where I still act from a place of fear. I pray that God will help to grow out of that, or at least able to move through it, to act with courage.
i know in a cerebral sort of way that abundant life is from God and that i live in the midst of it; that’s the fact i understand. but my experience of abundant life is in stillness and quietness and in the midst of nature, music, and family…this awareness brings communion with God and that almost always leads to gratefulness….and for that, i am grateful! concerning growing in abundant life: i need to honestly trust and love God more.
The foster children in our lives have shown us life in abundance, love, forgiveness, silliness, laughter, peace and wisdom. I can always use more patience with myself and with the clock and with my near-saintly husband.
I have found abundant life in authentic, open relationships, the kind that can only be experienced when we are able to integrate the grace of God into our lives. Only then can we stand “naked” in front of another, fully seen and not ashamed. I see more growth in deeper relationships and in opening a door for others to experience such relationships.
Abundant life is found with my family anywhere they are.
Especially w them in Saluda, NC
I can grow in numerous ways. Showing love better, forgiving people who I think have wronged me, slower to react to statements, contemplating scripture, and being happy where I am in the moment.
I can know abundant life in all walks of my life, in the places of doubt and fear and discouragement tucked away in the back of my mind, in my relationships with others, and in my time by myself. I can grow in just being still and being with God.
Abundance comes as you want and seek less satisfaction from our world. The centering of life through Jesus. My growth depends on my willingness to put my self sufficiency aside and allowing God to use me as he wants. Not as I think it should be.
Abundant life to me is being to live everyday knowing that Jesus is by my side and enjoying all the wonderful gifts which He has given us.
Talk about loaded questions to start…I guess, if I am being honest with myself this Ash Wednesday, I’d say where I need to grow is in trusting God. I may believe that God exists, and believe in all the credal statements about God, but do I believe in God in the sense of trust? Sadly, I am far too prone to a pessimistic outlook, always seizing on passages of scripture and events in life to convince that much of the common wisdom about Christianity and love is merely soft-headed wishful thinking; that God is really more authoritarian and less about love than most people pretend. So maybe my problem is that I can only think of “abundant life” as a mental concept, as opposed to anything in my life…or, maybe, that God intends abundant life for lots of people, but not me. (That old Augustinian/Calvinist predestination doctrine is my personal nemesis.) Do you see where I feel I need to do a lot of growing? Not sure how to do so, though.
I really appreciate your honesty, and believe that such frankness is really valuable. After all, it we can’t talk about our doubts, how can we really access an honest faith?
Speaking of trust, I don’t know if you’ve read “Tokens of Trust” by Rowan Williams. Its a deep reflection on the Nicene Creed that deals a lot with trust. I got quite a lot out of it.
Thank you James for your reply. After reading other answers to the question, I felt very alone, not being able to claim to feel “abundant life”. I think that we face a daily struggle to see beyond our doubts and challenges, and reach for the source of never ending light that is God’s love.
I feel abundance daily as I realize more and more that
Love cannot be divided, it only multiplies
It is the first and last lesson to study and grow with
for ones whole life. In both receiving and giving
I think I can find abundant life my study and prayer, I also can find it in the love of my family and my close friends, I can also find it by reaching out with love to people I encounter on my job, while out shopping (clerks who help me) or just in random strangers I meet thru out the day. I went to work this morning determined to reach out with love to all people, no matter the circumstances and my day went really well, I felt less stress at work (by the way, I work in retail) and this was good, very good day.
I believe that I will enjoy a more abundant life by contemplating, living with, and keeping close in heart and mind, the opening phrase of John’s gospel, “In the beginning was the word…and the word was God.” This has always impacted me as the most powerful, beautiful and deep statement in the Bible.
I have found at times abundant life in the most mundane of tasks — hanging laundry, driving, feeding the cow, making a smooth bed. In trauma, I have found it in the comfort others give — their need to pull me up. I find it in choir where my voice is never heard, but OUR music is.
I find abundant life all around me as I see the beauty of God’s creation all around me. I feel blessed to be surrounded by those who are my “family of friends”, those who are always there to support me.
I can continue to grow by reading and understanding the Gospel, by showing love and understanding to others.
To know abundant life is an ideal I feel is beyond my grasp. The world and its problems draw us away from the overflowing source of strength and security that God’s love is for us. I feel I need to grow in my confidence to know that God is with me and always will be despite the chaos around.
To both questions my answer would be “everywhere and in everything”.
I find adundent life in the laughter of children. In teaching young children about God’s love in my 4 yo Sunday School class. I also find the abundance and peace of God’s love in the stillness of fallen snow and the calls/songs of birds. The challence is to share these things with the the world at large which is too often to busy to stop and be both quiet and still.
I find abundant life in both stillness and community. I like silence and have become my own best friend through the gift of solitude. Community supports me with living witness of God’s love.
Looking forward to being present with John who wrote his words from a place of love.
I find abundant life in the Sacraments and in knowing I have been made by God an integral part of the Body of Christ. I can still grow in practicing spiritual disciplines that nurture silence and listening to God’s voice.
For me, abundant life means living life in the trust that there is always enough: enough of God’s love, enough kindness, enough resources, enough meaningful work to be done. Abundance is the opposite of scarcity and lack. It’s a mindset that calls to mind the goodness of creation and God’s indwelling presence in all that God has created.
To say yes to those opportunities that bring me out of my fear and preconceptions and into service and surrender. To have the innocence of a child.
I know abundant life when I am grateful, both for my blessings and trials, that have lead me to where I am now. I know abundance when I can give of myself, without expectations.
My challenge is to love myself, so that I can love my neighbor and my God. My God has changed for a scary, punishing God to one who loves me and wants the best for my. I have found this God in AA, in church, in studying the Bible, and in prayer and meditation. I hope that this Lenten workshop will allow me to enlarge my spiritual life so that I can know God even better.
God’s blessings Dorothy! It helps me to remember that God loves me because of who He is…not because of who I am (or who I was).
I experience abundant life in my friends, my children, nature, and corporate worship. All of these reveal the magnitude of God’s generosity and love. I also experience abundance in my survival through the trials and challenges of my life. I am still on my feet, as I like to say, and I know I owe that to the grace of God alone.
Where can you know abundant life? Where can you still grow?
Life by its nature is abundant. I experience life when I listen and relate to other people and in particular when I am with my wife and children.
I look to grow in understanding and compassion toward people when they act in ways that I feel are selfish.
Waking up each day.
Becoming closer to God
I know abundant life in the remarkable and surprising love of my family and friends, and in the doors standing wide open all around me.
I have much growing to do in my devotion to scripture as a means of drawing closer to Jesus and in my willingness to trust him with my life
It is through contemplative prayer and my relationship with Jesus that I am beginning to experience a more abundant life. John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” This speaks to me that no matter what I go through in my life God will always be present for me. That he can penetrate the cracks and shadows and bring transformation. I can still grow in learning to have more loving relationships with myself, my neighbor and the larger community. I am being to experience that love, if only for a few moments at a time. It wells up in me and feels like a fountain spraying water.
I can know abundant life through an incarnational understanding of life. The opening hymn in John lays this out with breathtaking clarity. God’s election to ‘tent among us’ is surely one of the strongest ever endorsements of humanity, from which I can draw inspiration. I have the possibility of a lifetime of potential growth in this intimate connection.
I know abundant life when I look out my windows and the falling snow and the lovely trees surrounding our home.
It is in the joy of living close to my brother and his family.
It is in my husband and I and the joy we find since we have made New England our home.
It is in the community I found my way to at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Fremont and now at St. Paul’s in Hopkinton.
I think abundant life is found in one’s heart. We open our hearts and we grow. But, this is easier said than done. My own conscientious attempts too often tighten the knots that bind my heart, rather than loosen them. I cry, and then laugh, and then cry again.
I find abuntant life in my exercise is what first came to mind. Yoga gives me the chance to explore my body in ways I didn’t know were there. Birding gives me the chance to become daily aware of our outdoor surroundings. I marvel at the intricate designs of tree branches. Colors of nature never cease to amaze me. There is always something new. I need to work on the abundance in my friends and family and awareness of their needs.
I know the abundant life every morning as I awake to the many wonders and mysteries of creation which reflect God’s glory. My agony is my failure to respond in daily life to the experience of those wonders and mysteries; of letting life get in the way of the joy.
Where do I know abundant life? Right now today, abundant life for me is seeing the sparkle of friends and acquaintances in various ways (Legion pancake supper, exercise class,meeting in the food store, saying hello in the library, going to meetings of the Horticultural society) in the small town in which I live. it is also reading the posts of friends on Facebook and accompanying them in the ups and downs of their lives. Where life could be more abundant for me would be a situation where I could further let go of my stand-offishness, set aside my reserved nature and be more willing to put my own thoughts and activities out into the world, rather than just observe. I hide my light under a bushel to too great a degree. I might have something to say that other people might find helpful.
I know I also need to grow in many areas. I am working on being more forgiving to those who have hurt me, or ones I love. Loving those who are working against you is my current struggle.
I suppose one can know abundant life anywhere and everywhere, regardless of circumstances. Where am I actually awake and open to it? That’s another thing. I get so involved with what I’m doing (or–more often–my personal agenda) that I forget being.
What calls me back is usually time in the garden–messing around in dirt and living things seems to still my mind and I find myself listening deeply. Or sometimes somebody needs something and I find the grace to focus on them 100%.
Where can I still grow? Probably in the very places that tyrranize me most: what is comfortable or convenient.
Abundant life for me is in observing nature and humans, mainly babies and children. Even in winter, there is life at by birdfeeder, and an abundance of life in the school where I teach. My pets are another source of life and love. I love their joyous greetings when I come home. Even if I have been away for only a little while, they greet me with joy.
For me, abundant life has been coming to me as I deepen my awareness of the presence of Jesus in my every moment. I want to “soak myself” in Jesus’ presence this Lent, to make it ever more a “discipline” of my life. I trust that this series will aid me in this quest. A “holy Lent” to everyone!
I love the Gospel of John, it is saturated with Christ’s love for all creation. I know abundant life in the Eucharist and communal worship. I can still grow in The Way by following Christ. When he opens my hear to His presence in the world around me, when he summons me to love Him and love my neighbor.
I am joyfully aware of abundance of life when participating in creative processes. Art projects, crafts, writing, or simply preparing a meal help me to feel more alive, more connected, and very blessed. I live a very quiet and isolated life, but two dear friends have reached into that with their love and spiritual guidance. They live their faith. Their lives have become their visible sermons as they listen to others’ needs, responding with compassion and practical help. Life energy fills them and flows from them, healing and strengthening those they encounter. I want to learn to venture out, reach out, and find ways to spread love and hope. Doing that scares me, even though it calls to me. I have to leave my familiar modern cave. I need to trust God more and risk the awkward and unknown. Love is a risk. Returning to Church after 20 years of only praying in private or online or at synchronized times with someone somewhere else is a risk. Life is a risk. But God is there. He’s everywhere, but clearly visible within the love we share with others. Growth? I think the challenge, for me, is to ask God to help me grow forth and walk in Love.
In my husbands love, my son’s eyes, my church family, my brothers calls, my friends caring, on a mountain top, by the sea and in the brilliant night sky is where I see and appreciate God’s abundant life. I can grow more in service and sharing in the day to day activities of life.
I find God’s life in the ocean. I feel at one with creation and the creator when close to the oceans great pounding waves and rolling seas – to me they feel like the heartbeat of God. they also serve to remind me that I am like one of the grains of sand tossed about but also embraced.
I also find abundant life in the gathered community around the Eucharist and in its fellowship – in its love and care for one another and the needs of those around them.
my heart’s in need of an overhaul. am deeply grieving the death of my best friend. working too hard, resentment building.
would love for compassion to expand in me, and healthy detachment — acceptance, too.
abundance is likely to come not as I gather, but as I let go.
I experience God’s present abundance when I stop – simply stop trying to have a conversation with God in which I supply both sides. Allowing God’s grace and love to both empty and then fill my spirit gives me hope and gladness that even in those dis-comforting times and places I am not alone.
For God in eternity was, is now, and ever will, the loving One I can trust. Through this gospel’s witness, I long ago found my purpose. Reading this Gospel now, I expect to find re-purpose, thanks be to God!
I came to know abundant life through 25 blessed years with my wife. My favorite play – Les Miserables – ends with the line: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
I can still grow by studying the scriptures and reflecting upon the abundance and blessings Christ has given me with his example of Agape love. I can attempt to expand my love for both God and my neighbor in each and every daily interaction I have.
That line from Les Miserables always makes me smile and cry at the same time. It’s truth makes me catch my breath.
What is abundant life? Is it family? I’ve got plenty. Is it activity? I have too much. Is it time alone? I have too little. Is it time with God? I am learning to find Him everywhere. Where do I find abundance? When I snuggle with my grandchildren, when I feed a hungry crowd. When I find time to be alone with God. When I help children to understand a new concept.
Where can I continue to grow? Learn to find abundance in the messy and the mundane. In the daily.
I feel I am blessed in my children and grandchildren and have them nearby and loving. I find abundant life through them; through my church, its sacraments and the opportunity it gives me for growing and gving; through music, through nature -snow, birds, flowers, trees, ocean, mountains. I need to grow in patience and self-discipline. Lent, of course, is the perfect opportunity to do this.
Three places of abundant life for me came to mind. First, I also love the Gospel of John. Some years ago, a friend asked me to produce a version of John that could be done as drama, story telling (as has been done with Matthew). I spent a year with commentaries and did so. What an interesting challenge. Then, because he didn’t ever do it as story telling, I decided to! Well, I worked for a year and had memorized through Chapter 4! And I had to work full time, so I realized I would never do the whole Gospel. Sigh. But I have done the introduction, the wedding at Cana, and the woman at the well in various places. Great for me. Second, we have a Rock Chapel in addition to our church building. I love all services, and I take part in most of them, but I particularly love services in the Rock Chapel – a “thin place.” I feel God’s presence there. Third, I recently was blessed with twin grandchildren! Talk about abundant life, teeming around me and the whole family! A boy and a girl, and they live in the same town!! [Looking back at this post, I’m seeing life for me in the mind, the soul, and family/community/relationships.]
Knowing abundant life is a living, daily practice: thanking God for the blessings in a new day; walking in nature; prayer; listening; taking care of my physical body; attending Evensong and singing with others in chapel; contemplation; collecting images of faith; helping others, among many others. It takes conscious effort and willingness to receive. Ways I can grow: memorizing parts of the Fourth Gospel; memorizing the Nicene Creed (Light of Light); being less afraid.
A dear Episcopal nun recently told me sometimes it is hard to accept oneself as the Beloved of God. As I thought about it, I had to admit this was true of me. If I truly believed that, my life would be extraordinary beyond any thing I can imagine.
Thanks for your comment, Stephanie. That has been my biggest struggle of late and I long for God to work His way with me in this area. We are beloved by God-what a gift!
thank you for this Stephanie and Chris…sometimes I too have to be reminded that we are all Beloved of God…and that his Grace is with us and in us always…blessings to you.
I know abundant life in the moments when whatever I am doing is enough and I feel brim-full of joy, hope, energy, community, peace, and/or love in the present moment. I know the need for growth in the moments of panic and depletion, when I feel that I will never be or have enough: enough hours in my day, enough knowledge in my brain, enough love in my heart, enough energy in my body, enough conviction in my soul.
You find life through Christ. In his word prayer and sacraments!
I find abundance when I stop and look around me…but I also know that I need to work on being available for others and being more Jesus than I am.
Abundant life for me is the many people I love and am able to help or console. Without them I would be living for myself and not others.
Spiritual growth happens when I am able to not let life’s noise distract me from prayer.
Twice, 1st at Jesus’s Baptism we are introduced to the Son of God by God himself.
2ndly we are are given greater understanding at the time of Jesus’ Trasfiguration on Mt. Sinai. The emphasis shown here by God interrupting Peter to inform everyone that Jesus replaces the Law and the Prophets, he is the one to whom one should hear and follow. Then the Last Supper Jesus discloses his Messiahship in a new and more powerful way that we still can relate to the shock and disbeleif experienced by the 12. Next we are brought into confrontation with the risen Christ by the two who eat with him as they are running out of Jerusalem. But then empowered by their knowing Jesus who was a
traveling partner asking questions a few moments before,immediately knew him in the breaking of the bread.
This brings the point, we at our Baptism are raised as Christ’s Brothers and Sisters and by Living and Loving through our Baptism to become “Bricklayers” to build the
the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now. The legacy of which and I quote N. T. Wright, providing Godly ” Life after Life after Death”.
I find abundant life with family which includes my biological family, my church family, my neighborhood family, and my work family. Just like with gardening, sometimes there are good years and sometimes there are lean ones and so it goes with each of these families. Growing with them is not always constant and sometimes I have to let one rest a year while I rotate the planting and care on another.
What a beautiful image. It reminds me of my grandfather who was a gardener and who, I think, knew about abundant life. Peace.
I find my guide to and source of abundant life in the Word. When I read, study, pray, listen and praise (worship) Him, my life is full & I am satisfied. When I stray from any of these disciplines, my life quickly becomes chaotic and empty, yet it happens all too often. My “walk” seems to be made up or baby steps with frequent falls. My faith reminds me always to get up and try again. The love of Christ is the light by which I find my way and I trust He has lead me to SSJE Love Life as a means to further this journey.
Perhaps my biggest area of growth is into more humility and yet that feels like such a contradiction. Can I even aspire to be more humble? Is there not a pride and a sense of my own agency in having the temerity to diagnose my own spiritual problem. So I pray, and wait, and hope.
An abundant life is located in the moments of recognition of the God’s glory, be it in the snow diamonds sparkling in the snow to remind us of creation, the recognition of my humanness in a daily activity that reminds of the great need for redemption, the hope that comes from the comfort of HIs presence. THis morning it was snowing (again). The flakes looked like drops of rain, but it was snow. I took time to do something that was unplanned that put the need of another ahead of my daily needs for sustenance and it created stress. I look forward to the noon service – time to experience the spirit of God in community -to calm my soul.
I find abundant life in community, my church family, my immediate and extended family, in service, and
in the quiet times that I can feel God’s grace and mercy.
I have abundant life in my family, friends and church life. The blessing of others in my life and being a blessing in other’s lives makes my life abundant. I can still grow by increasing that circle of people to whom I am open to loving and being loved by.
I know an abundant in the Christian community in which I worship. I am especially reminded of my abundant life at the alter when I am receiving the bread and wine, or in the honor of serving the bread and wine to others.
I certainly can grow in my attentiveness of the grace of God.
Where can you know abundant life? Where can you still grow?
Abundance in family, in material needs being met, in the ability and opportunity to serve God
Where can I grow? In my faithfulness, in my service, in balancing my time and energy.
I find abundant life most often in 3 places. In community when we celebrate Eucharist and we are joined together as one in Christ, secondly, in the silence where I can empty myself and consent to Christ’s Presence and will for my life. The more I “let go” the more I grow and am made aware of all the areas of spiritual growth that are laid before me. Finally, I find abundance in moments where a person or incident crosses my life journey seemingly coincidental but clearly, upon reflection, with guided purpose.
I find abundant life in service and community. Service opens my heart to the pervasive presence of Jesus in the world. Community. Community in which we live out our Baptism together is a place of support and strength, in which I not only receive, but give and share.
I know the abundant life when I see God in so many of his people. I know the abundant life when I feel the presence of God in my own being
Hopwever, I have a tendancy to forget that God is all around me and in me – and go it on my own. Therefore I hope to grow this Lent in my spiritual life by allowing God to manifest in me, through me and through others
so that I might Become more fully in God’s love for me .
I find abundant life in the recovery of alcoholics and addicts. I find it in the children of my barrio when they have success in their lives and in particular when they receive a big hug from their mamas and papas and abuella/os. God is present and therefore life is abubdant.
I need to grow in social justice volunteerism… put my feet where my belief lies.
That is where I find abundant life.
I find both abundant life and room to grow in the relationship with my brothers and sisters in our parish family. Actually living a life of charity by the grace given me by the Holy Spirit brings great joy but with it I also find experience of suffering and loss. Loving the broken in a broken world and learning to turn my self- centered will over to the Spirit is continual growth for a sinner like me.
Only in Jesus is there forever abundant life. Only time with Him will bring us into that abundancy.
When I am mindful that I am a child of God and as such must always continue to search and grow it seems that God is always there to point the way that ultimately brings abundance in many different ways.
I have found abundant life through my parish which is different than any other parish I have attended. Church of Our Saviour in Somerset Ma. has chosen to stop, meditate, and ask God for guidance in all decisions we make. We do not act until we are sure this is what God wants. Because I have seen the amazing things that come from listening to God, I myself, have found that my life is far more abundant when I quiet myself to listen and follow my Lord.
I see, feel , and know an abundant life when I listen with gratitude to ‘the least of these’. God’s voice is always there if I am willing to deeply listen.
A: Where do I know Abundant Life?
1- In brief flashes of love with my loved ones, including some intimate moments with my wife.
2- In nature, especially the woods; also sometimes when traveling over or looking at vast bodies of water.
3- Sometimes when playing my guitar and singing
4- Occasionally in prayer.
B. How might I grow in A.L.?
I’m open to learning how, but think the old familiar answers probably apply: growth in study, prayer and meditation; also, visiting the Brothers.
I can know abundant life right where I am. It is available to me everywhere and every day because we have an incarnational God. The natural world, the animals, people–all were created by God out of his love. In that sense everything God created is sacred, imbued with his love. I have abundant life when I feel the presence of God, which is in me and all around me. My job is to be open to God’s presence–to trust and not fear, to quiet what seem to be the urgencies of life, to practice mindfulness, to allow the God in me to love that which is holy in others and in all of creation. Being able to do this so that it becomes more a part of my life is how I can grow in my relationship with God. It is the desire of my heart.
Where can I know an abundant life? I can, at least, begin right where I am planted. Right here. Among the ordinariness of my daily life: nature, my loved ones including the four footed ones, books and music and daily activities, strivings, small challenges met and overcome. This is also where I can continue to grow as I try to root out doubt, control issues & being judgmental.
In the present moment, I know and live abundant life. I pray for strength to live more fully in the present, believing this is where I shall grow closer to God, self and others in True love. Whether doing dishes in the morning or making love at night, as well as all activities inbetween,to be absolutely present in mind, body, heart and soul is my growth area.
I find abundance on the oncology floor. A most humbling experience. Trusting in God and looking into the eyes (souls) of those I care for (I am an RN) I feel His presence. I trust Him to guide my life. I try as best I can to be open to His will not mine and that can be a challenge as I am human with many faults
Over this Lenten season I hope to grow spiritually and work on humility. I hope to gain new insight through the gospel of John
i am reminded of life’s abundance when i stop to truly listen with the intent of hearing others. listening to be heard, for me, often gets in the way of seeing the generosity that exists in so many people. also, we’ve been moving towards locally sourcing our food – and i am amazed at the year-round abundance of life and creation, even in the cold. for me, i am mindful of needing to grow in compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude.
I only need look at the crocuses and daffodils that are blooming to understand that our souls, of course, are eternal, eternally new and eternally being re-created. Every opportunity to join in the sacraments and the liturgy (and as a chorister, the music) of our church traditions renews me and gives me hope for abundant life. Where I need to grow is in realizing even that mean customer, that loud and obnoxious teenager on the bus, even the homeless person also has abundant life.
I know abundance in God. For me, this is in the deep joy in knowing Hid gift to all humanity in Christ. I need to grow in trusting in the plenty that surrounds me. Finding I have plenty frees my heart to give to those in need, to let go of what is not of God and to hold fast to what is God.
Jesus gave us the summation to love God and to love each other. I know abundant life in my feeling of love for the closeness of God. I can grow in feeling love for others. The puzzle I seek to understand is why these two paths seem so different when they surely are not.
I can know abundant life in my home, in my church and in my work.
I hope to continue to grow in all areas for as long as I live.
Abundance in life found in community; also in solitude and in touch with the Divine’s great creation (yes, that includes others! but when in ‘nature’)…
Room for growth…always! (St. Benedict: Always we begin again.). Always a beginner; not so sad! Beginners continue to revel in wonder.
I am in wonder of new life, especially my grandson, but all births and new life, creation is so full of grace.
I know abundant life in my professional and personal life especially when I am patient and listen to others and try to understand how I am meant to interface with others. I also know abundant life when I have time alone- to listen to myself, my internal god and understand the importance of knowing that each of us have a unique path to follow.
As for the second question- I have many many areas where I can still grow- I can do more for others, give more generously to others and not be so anxious about my what will happen……
I find abundant life during worship, common prayer, singing, Eucharist. I find it when in being with other people when we share our lives deeply, when we come together without barriers to work on a common goal. I find it in the love of my family and friends.
I want to deepen my openness to God – so much stuff seems to be in the way. I want to remove barriers I built out of fear and preoccupation, between me and God and me and others. And I know I can’t do that – only God can.
Abundance surrounds me, but none to match the abundant life within. I have written a book, “On Earth as in Heaven” which is moving toward publication, and I dare to think of myself as a writer. But wait a minute: the 60 articles comprising my book were written over a 20-year span. That averages one every four months. To be a writer I sorta have to write every day. I resume my long-abandoned habit of daily reading of scripture and depend on it for source.
I find abundance in life in the natural world, in human faces and hearts, in creative process, in worship, in prayer, in solitude and in quiet. I wish to grow in the art of listening, tolerance and gratitude.
One of the ways I can know abundant life is to practice the art of loving others unconditionally….letting go of myself, my wants regarding having love returned. This means letting go of expectations of others. Since I will likely not get this down 100%, it is always an area that I need to practice in order to grow, keeping in mind that the goal is progress, not perfection. More, keeping in mind that my willingness to try to practice this is very meaningful to the Lord. Loving others without expectation of return is a freedom experience, a kingdom of God experience!
Could not have said it better!
Thamk you, for sharing your response! Blessings!
I come to know abundant life in the everyday. Through my awareness and mindfulness of all of the wonders of the daily life, I find further insight into the abundant life God has for me to experience. It might be in a note or conversation with a grandchild, friend or acquaintance, it may be in nature through the birds and the beauty that is displayed, it might be in an act of kindness showed to me.
Growth comes through awareness and a focus on being mindful of the great abundance that is all around me. That comes through meditation, prayer, study and worship.
I find abundance in God’s creation — the natural planet and its creatures, the seasons, the ways its gifts can comfort our earthly senses. Nature is both proof of God’s power and his gift to us in our mortal lives.
I also find abundance in the Eucharist and liturgy, especially in the seasons of the church as a way to focus prayer and contemplation.
Certainly I have much room for growth in my prayer and meditation, in contemplating God’s mercy, and in my patience with others.
Abundant life is ultimately found in Jesus for me. And I need to grow in many areas but my current focus is trust.
I have, in past years, begun Lent with an open heart to draw nearer to the Lord and his words, but unfortunately have found myself slipping away, and not fulfilling what I had promised. This opening has truly instilled within me a true desire to be faithful, with daily prayer and spiritual readings. Please pray for me, as I open my heart and soul, listening to the words of John, and your guidance.
I experience abundant life in my job as a teacher. I work with special needs teens of varying abilities and issues, and I truly see the face of Jesus daily. I see it in my students, my colleagues, and in the families we serve. It is interesting to be somewhere where I’m not allowed to talk about God, yet I see Him at work all the time, in them and in me. I would like to say I experience abundant life in my church, but I know I can grow there. I was more active in ministry in the past, and for a number of reasons have backed off. I need to look at ways to add back in!
In the natural beauty of the world around me, I hear a clear voice explaining that He made all of this for us, for me! It is for us to enjoy, marvel at, be delighted by, and protect for others.
I can still grow by quieting my thoughts and meditating in the natural beauty around me. There is more to learn and the message is available if I will only listen for it.
I know I can continually grow in love. Sometimes God sends people to be loved; sometimes I have to push myself to look for them. But it seems that love doesn’t diminish the more you pass it on. Rather it seems to multiply in one’s heart.
The Romantic poet Shelley wrote,
“Love in this differs from gold and clay:
That to divide is not to take away.”
When we divide our love among many different people, we still have ALL of our love left to give away to others.
Working as a Social Worker on the cancer unit of the hospital was extremely difficult at times, and I would leave totally drained and sad at those moments. When that happened, I would purposely walk by the preschool play ground, and would see the little children laughing, crying, pushing each other, running in a game of tag, etc. I knew the abundance of life was shown in the contrasts I was seeing right before me – from the medical unit to the play ground. The Alpha and Omega, right in front of me. It always helped me to grow balanced again, and to open the love in my heart up again to the next appointment on my schedule.
Tom, your post inspired me. God is with us during sorrow and joy. Praise his name!
What a beautiful way to balance your painful and draining day! The playground full of energetic children was a gift for you. Your story reads to me like poetry. Thank you for sharing it.
Question #1 From God’s words and Jesus’ life and sacrifices.
Question #2 I need to trust more in God’s manifested love and forgiveness
I can know abundant life in my family and friends and all that they offer me every day. The beauty of celebrating joy and offering and accepting comfort with and to and from each other truly makes my life full.
I can grow by carrying that beauty out of my own circle to others, even in the smallest ways. I try to do this in my everyday life, but I know that there is always room for growth in this way. We can never do too much for others.
I can more readily find my way to abundance by abandoning fear and embracing my faith. God will always be with me. I can find my way to abundance by looking at others as Christ sees them, abstaining from judgement and opening my heart and mind to look and to embrace our differences, our similarities.
For Lent 2013, I joined your daily reflections on-line, and then I was delighted with the reflections from the Brothers continued after Lent. Since that time I have shared these daily reflections with four of my dearest friends and we in turn, share our thoughts and comments with each other. Thank you for the gift!
I can know abundant life in quiet moments, in solitude, in nature – when I am reminded of God’s goodness and love.
I can still grow in moments of tension with my family and others – when I get distracted and forget whose I am.
I know abundant life in my heart with the promise of being a new creature in God’s grace everyday. I sense I most need to grow my faith in trusting in this promise and sharing the joy of this promise to everyone around me.
I can still grow……in community (work, family)…..overcome defendedness, anger, pride….I can still grow……in taking better care of myself physically, honoring body, physical vitality that was given to me—community and physical well-being feel like chores, not love—-would like to be freed of that—-
I am often distracted by the day to day tasks of parish ministry and so I do not give myself time to reflect on the question of abundant life. As I grow however I find more and more that abundant life occurs for me in community with others i have been called to be with as Rector. Abundant life then occurs as I celebrate on Sunday morning but it also occurs in the deep quiet and sorrow of the lives of those I love: illness, death, baptism, marriage. Abundant life is found then in the ordinary. This Lent I hope be more attuned to this love in my life and to incarnate that love in my relationships and my ministry.
Amén. Padre David.
I find abundance in my church community. There I see God blessing us with many gifts.
For me abundant life is in all the people I encounter day by day, some in person, now here in this new online community, and in my memories as I “re-encounter” past dear ones. Being on 15 weeks chosen sabbatical from my local congregation, yet still seeing them around town, each has become vividly precious to me. I want to continue to grow in servanthood as Jesus’ disciple.
I have been sent an abundance in my life. An abundance of responsibility, sacrifice and caregiving. Often times I feel it is too much. Perhaps the Jesus in John’s gospel felt that way too.
I find abundant life in interactions with my grandchildren. Their wonder and joy is contagious. I need to grow in my relationships with people who differ from me.
right here, now.
So simple, yet so profound. Abundance can be experienced only in the ‘now’ moments. Thanks for the reminder. God’s blessings!
Knowledge of abundant life can be found studying/following Christ. Growth occurs when I am disciplined and consistent dedicate time to study of God’s word.
I experience abundant life most fully when, in the midst of daily life, I find myself able to connect deeply with another person. The other may be someone I know well, or a stranger. It may be a long conversation or a fleeting encounter. I think of it as the movement of the Holy Spirit among us. Where can I grow? in awareness of all that is pulling and pushing in life and responding with intention.
I find abundant life in reading scripture. I can grow by being more mindful of the present moment, by abiding in the Presence of God’s love, rather than hitting the replay button of the past or the fast forward button of the future.
I find abundance in my life in the love others have for me. I know many people care about me, and see the good in me. They can see a potential in me that I often fail to see. The area I can still grow is in the love for myself. Although I often see good in others, and take greal pleasure in serving others, I fail to recognize the good in myself. Many times finding fault with myself where others see only success.
I sense a theme here…
I think I find life in abundance when I am truly mindful of God’s presence with me, realizing that although He is always there I am not always aware of His support, guidance and love. And that awareness can come to me anywhere, which is the enduring beauty of it. There is always room for more; ever expanding communion!
I made my reply as I initiated this connection. Perhaps that will suffice. Thank you for this opportunity for interaction with you on this journey.
Assuming that here is where I’m invited to answer the questions:
I find abundant life as I love to the depths of my ability and to the depths of the empowerment of the Holy, and as I am able to receive the love which is for me.
I can deepen my journey by making an ever more deep commitment to Centering Prayer, to listening for the guidance of Spirit, by simplifying my life, and by surrendering to the Holy.
I feel life’s abundance most in my relationships. Especially with my family and sometimes in my work as a psychiatrist I was wounded early in life and have difficulty loving openly and without defensiveness. As silly as it sounds I practice loving without obstacle with my dog. I live alone with my dog and my cat
Abundance in my life is experienced in relationship to others, but also in silent meditation. Whether this is at work (where I am a therapist) when I sit and listen to the stories of others, or with family sharing a meal prepared together, or sitting silently in the morning for 30 minutes.
I am also looking for growth in my knowledge of God. I grew up in a Christian tradition, but put a formal practice aside for my adult life. I feel as though I am returning in order to know God, to understand my relationship to God, and to explore who Jesus is and was.
Though I believe God is in control I tend to act as if he’s not. This causes me to lose my peace and joy as I struggle to solve my own problems and, in the moment, forgetting that God is with me. I want to have “more of Him-less of me” in my life.
Amen to that! I do so relate.
At this moment I am acutely aware of my life sooooo….abundant, which demonstrates clearly how important this daily “Word” is for me- Without it, I would have missed this!
Getting older, being a grandparent, and working in hospice also guide me to recognize and value my life abundant- A life where I currently am able to make choices- Time with God, my grandchildren, at the Monastery and with the Brothers, with my partner and my work. The list may sound trite-is anything but to me.
Where do I want to grow? Right here where I am. There IS room for that….
My life, too, is abundant, filled to the brim with family, a two-year-old granddaughter, working the twelve steps in Al/Anon, volunteering at my church, reading, loving nature. The new word I reflect upon today is SERVING as opposed to helping. Serving implies equality, while helping implies inequality. BIG issues here.
I find myself moved today with a renewed desire to live the life that Jesus teaches us. In this moment I find an abundance of life because my heart if filled with love. While I am not yet, I hope, done growing in knowledge of the works of man, every day that I listen and pay attention I grow in knowledge and love of God. What a blessing!
Embracing the abundant life is where I struggle most, I think. It’s not an intellectual battle — I know in my innermost heart that this is God’s wish for the creation God declared to be good. Rather, it is a soul battle which I see myself ill-equipped to fight.
Find abundant life : Family (Church and relatives), Home, Work, Dinner table.
Need to grow in: Understanding and accepting others as they are. Loving my neighbors.
I think abundant life is found in one’s heart. We open our hearts and we grow. But, this is easier said than done. My own conscientious attempts too often tighten the knots that bind my heart, rather than loosen them. I cry, and then laugh, and then cry again.
I know abundant life in my marriage, my church community, in nature, in family, in encountering Christ in the larger community, in my relationship with God. I can still grow by getting out of my comfort zone, with the marginalized, in prayer and reflection, with those closest to me.
What is “abundant life”? I am mourning the death by suicide of my 29 year old son, Joe, three months ago. I wonder if/when I will love life, and accept that Joe did not.
Our hearts go out to you as you grieve the death of your son, Joe, three months ago. We will remember you our prayers – for strength and courage to claim the gift of life amidst this terrible loss, and to know Jesus’ promise of his presence with you. And we will remember Joe in our prayers, that he will know healing in death, that he be filled with Jesus’ light and life and love.
The SSJE Brothers.
Bonnie, I lost my younger son in 1999 to suicide. The one thing I would say to you is that I am proof you can eventually return to an appreciation of life. I don’t know how you will do it, but it can be done. Please don’t go it alone. There’s help to be found. Love and blessed peace to you.
This message is for Bonnie who lost her son three months ago.
Dear Bonnie, I am so deeply saddened by your loss. I too lost a son, age 32, by suicide almost four years ago. I also lost my ability to enjoy all that I had enjoyed before his death. Slowly, and much to my surprise, my life has changed and I have found new ‘enjoyments’, for lack of a better word, among them a much closer relationship with God. If you feel it would help at all please connect with me privately; my email is robencampbell at gmail.com. Very sincerely, Roben
As one who frequently contemplated suicide as a young woman, I’ve found I’ve been able to use that experience to help other young people in despair. Helping someone else avoid the lure of “easeful death” (as Keats said), helping young people choose life–this has proved to be my salvation as well.
Wishing you blessing and peace
Sorry, I meant me comment to be addressed to Bonnie.
Love says so easy and does so hard. I firmly believe that it is at the heart of my faith. I understand that it is the primary charge of Jesus – “love thy neighbor as thyself”. But, it is a never ending struggle for me to live and practice in my daily life. I hope this advances my ability to live a life of love.
I can know abundant life through the rich tradition of music and liturgy in the Episcopal Church. For me, nothing is more life-giving than experiencing those perfect, transcendent moments when I am totally aware of the presence of God in worship. It nourishes and sustains me unlike anything else.
At this point in my journey, I think the place where I can continue to grow is being able to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit outside of the Church and being able to recognize the Christ in other people- even those with whom I do not get along very well.
There are places that I have been or visited in which I have felt life’s abundance: Ocracoke, Gambier, Cowley, Shrinemont, St. James School Chapel, and Claggett. Sometimes, I am fortunate to feel that in my home. I find that when I am able to feel this love, I have dropped all preconceived expectations of how I am to behave or feel allowing myself to live in the moment. Typically this is more difficult for me to to do in places in which I carry responsibility which is the area in which I need to grow. When I am able to take in the love around me, I am better able to share it back. Learning to do this amid and through the banal chores of life would allow me to have more love in and give more love.
I am learning to drop my preconceived ideas and am finding His Love enfolding me in unusual and unpredictable places. Your post encouraged me today.
the burden(duty) of responsibility does become a jail cell,doesn’t it?
I know abundant life when I turn to Him for everything. He makes me smile and I feel His Peace. He really does want us to be happy here on this earth. I can grow more when I turn to Him fully day by day. I pray in Jesus name that I will continue this journey of love of Him and all He created by turning to Him more and more daily and thanking Him for everything. Amen.
Abundant life grows within from my daily offices with God and St. Benedict, from praying directly to them and listening. Growth comes in my journey as I daily walk on God’s lighted path as His disciple, sharing His news with those that I meet.
I know the richness of abundant life through relationships with others, most notably in living life with my husband, laughter with my grandchildren, God conversations with parishioners, chance encounters with strangers, soul connections with friends. All of which enable me to know myself and God more fully through the other.
I find abundant life in the peace of the morning, walking in nature, when I am alone with God and Jesus and can speak to them through my heart and being. Where I can grow is that I hold those moments throughout the day.
Where can you know abundant life? Where can you still grow?
I find abundant life at my church. I still grow there.
I have one answer for both questions: In my relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
I experience abundant life most fully when I sense my oneness with all creation, often by the sea or other bodies of water. I need to take time to have and appreciate such experiences more often.
I know of abundance through the ongoing outpouring of the beauty of the world, the love and acts of kindness of others, the blessings bestowed on me unearned, un-deserved.
I need always to grow in being at ease with not knowing, in being able to accept others without needing to change them, in the softening of my judgmental mind and heart.
I know my abundant life in prayer, study and nature. Time spent with my grandson and watching him grow and learn. I need to remember to use my God given gifts with love and enthusiasm.
I can know abundant life in the truth, and “the truth will set me free.”
I know my abundant life in prayer, study and nature. Time spent with my grandson and watching him grow and learn. I need to remember to use my God given gifts with love and enthusiasm.
I can know abundant life by being fully open to the abundance of blessings that God pours into my life each and every day. I can continue to grow by seeing each new day as the gift of a fresh opportunity to be lived to the fullest in the moment.
Finding abundant life before Heaven seems odd to me. There are so many ways I get distracted by the world and its cares that my life is often care-laden rather than abundant. Letting God’s love permeate my life would certainly help me feel more “alive” but how to do that is a good question. Perhaps this series will help.
I can grow in so many ways–become less judgmental, more patient, more loving. This has been a challenge of long standing for me. But, I keep trying.
I agree with you that “my life is often care-laden rather than abundant” and many other of your ideas.
Where do you know abundant life?
God’s presence with me always shining through in times of deep despair and in time of great joy.
in prayer and reading God’s word.
In sharing God’s love with my loved ones around me and in the wider community.
where can you still grow?
many areas of my life – patience, understanding, listening, responding, caring.
In general growing to trust and seek my Lord and Master in all situations not just when down and unable to cope. to be able to allow myself to let go and Let God do for me what I cannot do for myself.
hoping this is what is required. di enjoy video and this challenge.
I can know abundant life and grow my faith by further exploring scripture through lectio divina.
I experience abundant life in the community of God’s people. Since we are all God’s children — “my brothers and sisters” as one translation of Jesus’s words says, or “members of my family,” we all have life from the same source, so when we are together that life is magnified. I experience it in liturgy, in group worship, in fellowship, in conversations with other people, in working together at both secular and church-related employment, and on and on. I also experience abundant life in solitary prayer and meditation, when I can spend time with my creator undistracted by other people or tasks. Where I could do better, do more, be more life-filled would be in setting aside more time for contemplation and meditation. I hope this life-filled and life-giving series will help me do this.
I can grow in my understanding of how God wants me to use my life to help others. I need to open myself to God’s will and trust I will understand his will. I think the where of knowing abundant life is the opening of myself to the messages in the Bible.
I totally agree with your statement. Our church did a “Bible Challenge” in which we read 3 chapters from the Old Testament, 1 Psalm or Proverb and 1 chapter from the New Testament for within a whole year we would finish the entire Bible. Every Wednesday we would gather and discuss the readings for the week. It was great! Now we are going into it in more depth and John is the beginning. The Bible Challenge book can be purchased from Amazon.
Thanks for reminding me about the Bible Challenge! Our study group has been searching for a new form of study and perhaps this might help!
I find abundant life in the Eucharist.
Reading John 12: 20-26, I am fully aware of how much I have to grow.
Abundant life to me is Jesus and knowing Him. I am reminded of the words of Jesus in the gospel of John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
This “knowing” for me is a place where I can continue to grow. This “knowing” represents to me a journey into God who, while immanent is also transcendent, is Mystery. I want to know this God and His great love for me so that I might experience a transformation that not only changes me but enables me to love the world as God so loved the world.
The Gospel of John is without a doubt the most mystical( or way out if you will ) A group of psychiatrists once psychoanalyzed Jesus using this gospel and came to the conclusion that he had delusions of grandeur among other frailties. This also contains a story of the creation but along a completely different line as Genesis. Gotta read this gospel more often. Fr John used this as part of our confirmation class instruction.
God is telling me to learn to forgive and not hold on to old hurts. I can not live a full life until I rid myself of anger and regrets. There isn’t room in your heart for Lovel and anger. I need to choose love.
Fortunately this is one battle that I currently find myself fighting in most recent times. I find that sometimes even I have seemingly forgiven someone, my subconscious still stays mad at them and tries to avoid them. The word I’m getting is to learn to forgive people and let go of hurts regardless of how painful and to avoid judging others.
I am thinking today about God’s many calls to us, and since I am a sometimes writer of hymn words as well as other religious poems, my current focus is on the many calls I have and have had to write or speak in different ways. The call I feel right now is to try to convey to older women that they may have not been young enough to feel a call to the priesthood, but that there are many other callings that may help others as well as themselves.