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Advent Compline

Thursday, 8 PM
December 5, 12 & 19

For centuries, monks have been gathering to chant their bedtime prayers in a service known as Compline (from the Latin word meaning ‘complete’). The Brothers of SSJE invite you to our monastery chapel to experience a special contemplative Compline on Thursday evenings during the season of Advent.

The service begins at 8 PM and is preceded and followed by 30 minutes of quiet meditation by candlelight.

Obedience

The toughest of the three monastic vows, obedience is not about hazing others into conformity, nor infantilizing grown adults, nor abdicating personal responsibility, but about discovering the freedom to be fully alive. Br. Curtis Almquist invites us all to embrace this rich fare for our souls.

Explore the topic of obedience through Curtis’ reflection, suggested practices, reflection questions, and further resources. Read more >

Signs of Life: Why Church Matters

Next week we will be working on our Lenten 2020 video offering, Signs of Life, in which we will explore the riches of our worship traditions, liturgy and sacraments, and the art and architecture of our worship spaces, revealing the full meaning of these signs, deepening our experience of Christian vocation and guiding us toward ongoing conversion. 

This will mean a number of changes in our liturgical schedule for next week:

On Tuesday, 16 July, Dr. Lisa Kimball, Associate Dean of Lifelong Learning at VTS will be our guest preacher.

The Rev. Becky Zartman will be preaching a homily at both our morning and noonday services Wednesday through Friday.

On Wednesday, 17 July, the Eucharist will be celebrated at 8:00 AM and the Noonday Office prayed at 12:30 PM.

As part of the video offering, we will be video recording many of the services next week.

If you would prefer not to be included in the filming, please sit in the ante chapel.

Summer Seminarians

Three seminarians lived alongside the Brothers at the Monastery this summer, sharing in worship, work, meals, study and discussion, and the enjoyment of life together.  Pictured are Donna Hines (Virginia Theological Seminary), and Jim Corcoran and Mary Beth Mills-Curran (both from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University).

Why Church Matters, Right Now – Lisa Kimball

Play

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 20
John 14:15-21

Lisa Kimball, Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary

The Spirit spoke, Philip ran, the Eunuch asked, teaching began, water appeared, the chariot halted, baptism happened, lives were changed.

In my experience, conversion and discipleship are rarely this efficient but the elements, the rhythm, the signs are familiar. I recognize the irreducible miracle of spiritual mentoring and good teaching because I have received it. Faithful women and men have come alongside my messy, ordinary life at just the right moment. When God shows up between a mentor and a seeker, the sum is infinitely greater than the parts and everyone is changed forever. Who was your Philip? Who is your Philip today? 

Is it any wonder that the account of the Ethiopian Eunuch is a template for the ancient Christian discipleship process, what the church calls “the catechumenate?” The word “catechumen” is from Biblical Greek, meaning “one who sounds out something.” The catechumenate is a supportive and encouraging environment in which an inquirer makes a series of informed decisions to journey through to Christian initiation. We see here, in this passage from Acts, the dynamic interaction between community, scripture, and sacrament that produces a living ecosystem in which transformation and growth occur. 

When the people of God are listening, paying disciplined attention to the Lectionary, bringing their deepest longings into Liturgy and looking out for signs of Life, then the Holy Spirit calls seekers to appear, teachers to emerge, Christians are formed, and vocations are discerned. For seekers to turn and bring their longings toward the Church, the Church must be intentionally showing and sharing the Gospel with the world. If the church is to be a sign of Life — a magnet for the God-given longing in all people to reconcile with God and with one another — then the Church must speak its abundant life in the terms of the times.  As Anglicans, we are at our best when we engage the signs of our times with the signs of eternal life. 

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Br. Keith’s Life Profession

We are delighted that our Brother Keith Nelson made his Life Profession in our Community on Saturday.  Please take a moment to congratulate Keith and pray for his ministry in our Community. To read or listen to Br. James’ sermon, preached on the occasion, click here: Why Monks Matter

Profession in Initial Vows

We are pleased to announce that Brother Lucas Hall SSJE made his Initial Profession in our community on Saturday, 22 June. As we celebrate this profession, please continue to pray for the gift of vocations to our life. 

Holding and Beholding Divinity – Lydia Simmons

Preached at Emery House

Lydia Simmons, former SSJE Monastic Intern

Luke 1:39-57

When the angel Gabriel visits Mary to tell her that she will bear the son of God, we hear in Luke’s gospel that she was “much perplexed by his words” and asks “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”. Immediately after the Annunciation, Mary travels to visit Elizabeth, who also responds to this visitation with a question: not “how”, but “why” – “why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?”.  “Why me?”

Elizabeth is the wife of a priest, so she’s probably used to important visitors and even divine visitations in the household – just not to her. Six months ago, her husband Zechariah was chosen to offer incense in the sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem. As he was standing there, separated only by a veil from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, he was visited by an angel, and he hasn’t been able to speak ever since.

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