In my relationship with the Brothers, I have learned so much about who God is and about the qualities of honesty and transparency, love and patience, and the Fruits of the Spirit. After having worshiped at SSJE for three years, I feel that the depth of my faith has grown so much. There is an authenticity here in the Brothers’ humility, their warmth, their generosity of spirit. It’s taken my perspective on God to a totally different level; I see that God is affirming and loving, accepting and yet encouraging and challenging at the same time – not “kick you in the pants” challenging. It’s much more of an invitation: “Grapple with this. Here is an invitation for you to grow.”
It’s also been really powerful for my boyfriend to witness the richness of the Brothers’ style of life and spirit. He says that the most important thing that he’s learned from the Brothers is to slow down and intentionally enjoy the present moment in life. He and I have had many conversations about the Brothers’ way of life. When he first started coming to worship at SSJE, he would say, “Wow, these are guys – some of them aren’t that far away from my age – who don’t have a salary or any of the worldly things that, as a guy, I’m told that I should have.” It’s been really powerful for him to see the richness of life the Brothers experience without any of those things.
The Brothers bring a richness to my life that’s hard to put into words; instead, it’s clearly lived out. They model a way of living that is extremely full – overflowing even – with love and generosity and gratitude and praise and humility. Their exemplification of God’s love stirs within me the desire to reciprocate, as well as to share the gifts with those around me. It’s a natural reflex. When we are given something really precious, we want to respond with the same generosity by which we have received.
– Alexis Kruza