Why does God care about politics and systemic injustice? Becasue God cares about suffering. The mission of God is a mission of transformation. It seeks to challenge these unjust systems, it stands in opposition to violence of every kind, and it strives to establish God’s reign of justice and peace on the earth.
-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE
God’s covenant is with humanity as a whole, and being human is the only qualification. Our participation in God’s Truth is simply what it means to be fully human and to be embraced by the divine. In Truth, there are no dividing walls. We as Christians need to reflect that in how we relate to all our sisters and brothers, whether they be Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, or any other faith tradition.
-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE
Repent’ is the very first word of Jesus’ public proclamation of his message. The most basic response to the immanent reality and new Life offered by Jesus is repentance. At its heart, repentance is not about guilt or fear, both of which stop us in our tracks. It is the recognition that we’ve gone the wrong way, and we need to turn around– the literal meaning of the Hebrew word teshuvah.
-Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE
Jesus promises that he will meet us in the experience of fear. He tells us, “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Tell Jesus about your fear. If you’re afraid even to talk with Jesus about your fear, then start there: why it is that you are afraid to talk to Jesus about your fear? Tell him! Jesus is all ears. Jesus has an open heart. And he is waiting.
-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE
Sabbath-keeping is crucial to our life as Christians. “Brother, Give Us a Word” takes a Sabbath on Sundays. We hope that this weekly pause in our messages will offer a gentle reminder to pause in your own life.
My dear friends:
I was recently involved in a conversation about solitude. Over the course of the conversation it dawned on me that we should not speak so much of solitude (singular) as solitudes (plural), because there are different kinds of solitude, and different people experience them in different ways.
Since the lockdown began in March many of us have been experiencing more solitude than in the past. That has brought with it, its own struggles as well as graces.
One way in which people speak of solitude is as me time. This is a time to recharge our batteries and renew our energies. We all need to do this, and we all find different ways to do it. This experience of solitude as an opportunity to recharge and renew has been once of the graces of this season.
For others, and especially for those who live alone, this period of extended solitude has been a time, not of recharging and renewing, but of isolation and loneliness, when work and social routines have become virtual or remote, and physical connections limited to what can happen sitting six feet away from another.
For some this time of solitude has been a time of grace and for others a time of challenge.
In the Christian spiritual tradition, there is another facet to solitude that is neither about solitude as me time, or as isolation. In the monastic tradition solitude is not about recharging our batteries or experiencing isolation but enabling an encounter with the Divine.
We remind ourselves in our Rule of Life that the cell, which is the primary place of our personal prayer, is a place of divine presence and companionship. Like Jacob we say surely the Lord is in this place as we open ourselves up to an encounter with the living God, each time we enter our cells and shut the door. In the monastic tradition solitude enables us to encounter God whose name is Love.
While I have experienced this time of solitude as both incredibly renewing and enormously lonely, I have also experienced this solitude as an invitation to encounter the God who so loves the world. In an unexpected way, that is the solitude I have found most challenging, for as I have encountered the God who is Love, I have come to see the world the way God sees it, through the tears of God’s loving eyes.
Some days, I find the burden of this heartbreaking love almost too much to bear. Yet as Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, I know that tears of loving sadness, though they are the story for today, are not the end of the story. He who wept, is also resurrection and life.
The Psalmist reminds us that weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning. In this time of solitude, as I encounter the God whose name is Love, I am coming to see the world the way God does, and I weep. But as surely as I know that dawn will come, I know this time of weeping will one day end, and with the Risen Son we will again know life in all its abundance.
However you experience this time of solitude: as a time of personal renewal, unbearable loneliness, or disturbing encounter, this comes with the assurance of our prayers. We are, as always, grateful for your prayers for us.
Faithfully in God whose name is Love,
There is nowhere outside the scope of God’s mercy. There are no boundaries within God’s mercy. There is no one outside God’s mercy – no one outside God’s compassion and loving kindness. This truth has the power to convert us, to change our lives. To be a neighbor is to show mercy to those in need, regardless of their race, religion, or country of origin.
-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE
God’s salvation comes amid quick change and loss. Go now. There is no time to pack or prepare. We take what we have and adapt our routines, learning to bake bread without leaven. Salvation is a gift. It does not come on our terms, as we dream up, plan for, or prepare. God saves. We receive in motion.
-Br. Luke Ditewig, SSJE
Jesus came in weakness rather than in might. He made himself one with the people, identifying especially with the lowly and poor, the outcasts and the marginalized, the powerless and the vulnerable. The evangelism he taught and demonstrated was an evangelism from below, not from above. So, too, we, when we experience the power of God at work in us and through us, remind ourselves that God’s power is most clearly evident in our weakness.
-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE