Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

The Rule of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

We Brothers welcome you to a share one of our daily practices: listening to and reflecting on a chapter of our Rule of Life.

In addition the Brothers have a series of other resources that we hope might be helpful to you in exploring living with a Rule.

Living Intentionally: Creating a Rule of Life

We invite you to download our Living Intentionally Workbook for Creating a Personal Rule of Life. Walk with Br. David Vryhof step-by-step through the process of writing your own Rule.

A Framework for Freedom:

We invite you to discover the freedom that comes from living by a rule of life, by journeying through “A Framework for Freedom,” a 7-week self-guided video course to help you say “Yes” to your life.  Watch the series now.  Subscribe to a daily email.

In Lent 2012, we preached a series on the challenges and rewards of living by a rule of life. Drawing on chapters from SSJE’s Rule. Read and listen to the sermons.

A Living Tradition:

Each day of Lent 2011, we posted a short “living commentary” on our Rule, with a Brother or two offering his unique perspective on the document which shapes and forms our prayer and practice more than any other apart from Scripture and The Book of Common PrayerTo read that conversation, click here.

 

The Rule of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

We Brothers welcome you to a share one of our daily practices: listening to and reflecting on a chapter of our Rule of Life.

  • To listen to the SSJE Rule of Life, read aloud by a brother, click on the chapters to the left.
  • To read a Guide to Personal Reflection, click here
  • To Subscribe to the SSJE Rule of Life, click the subscribe buttons on the left.
  • We welcome comments on each chapter.
  • To purchase a copy of the book The Rule of Life, click here

Introduction

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The audio book, The Twelve Days of Christmas, is read by Br. Curtis Almquist and accompanied by carols sung by the Brothers.

The Twelve Days of Christmas follow from December 25 until January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, the traditional date when the Magi arrived to present gifts to infant Jesus. For many, the meaning of these days is lost. By Christmas night we are saturated with the holiday hype, overfed by music and food, and may already be disappointed that the presents received are not enough. This audio book is not a bah humbug about Christmas customs and presents.

This is simply an invitation to go deeper than the tinsel and wrappings, beyond the presents given and received, to the source of all the good gifts in life. Readers are invited to unwrap gifts that will last, praying the twelve days of Christmas.

Savior

The truth is, we all need a savior, because the world isn’t all that we know it can be. It wasn’t then and it’s not now. It wasn’t for Isaiah, and it isn’t for us. It wasn’t for the psalmist, and it isn’t for us. Life isn’t what we frequently pretend it to be; nor is the world. And that’s the whole point of Christmas. 

-Br. James Koester, SSJE

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Congratulations Brother David

Our Brother David Allen celebrates two significant anniversaries next week. On Wednesday, 19 December he celebrates his 89th birthday and on Friday, 21 December (the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle) he celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Following the Eucharist on Sunday, 16 December there will be a reception in his honor. Please help to celebrate these milestones in Brother David’s life.

Advent Observances: Wreath

The Advent Wreath, which by its nature is circular in form, reminds us that God’s love is endless, having no beginning or end. The greenery is a sign of hope, renewal and new life, especially at a time of year when everything seems to be dead and decaying. The four candles, a new one lit each week, marking the four Sundays of Advent, are visible reminders that as the darkness of the world (literally, as well as figuratively) descends upon us, that darkness cannot overcome the light which Christ brought into the world through His incarnation.

The wrought iron stand for the Advent Wreath was commissioned by the community as a memorial to our brother, John Goldring SSJE. During Easter, it can be converted into a stand for the Paschal Candle.

Wait

Everything in creation requires a time of gestation: canyons took millions of years to be formed by rivers of water; the oldest known Sequoia tree is said to have taken 3,266 years to grow; babies are not ready to be delivered at conception. I would say that it is a part of God’s order to wait.

-Br. Jim Woodrum, SSJE

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Blessing

I wonder if you can receive these words: that you are a blessing to God, and that God is intent on your being a channel of blessing, the blessing of God’s light and life and love to all that surrounds you. Can you receive that: that you are a blessing?

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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O Radiant Light: The Dawning of Christ – Br. Curtis Almquist

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Br. Curtis AlmquistAdvent Preaching Series: “O Radiant Light: Come and Enlighten Us.”

Isaiah 60:1-5a
Luke 1:68-79

This evening is the second in a three-part Advent sermon series on the “O Antiphons,” which have been prayed in Christian monasteries since about the 6thcentury. An antiphon is a short focusing sentence that precedes and follows the singing of a psalm or canticle. The seven “O Antiphons” are sung at Evensong before and after the Song of Mary, the Magnificat, between December 17th and December 23rd, in anticipation of Christmas. Each of the “O Antiphons” uses a title for the Messiah found in the prophecy of Isaiah.[i] These antiphons begin with “O,” in the sense of when something dawns on you, and you say with exclamation, “Oh!” This evening our theme is “O Radiant Light: Come and enlighten us.”

Light figures very importantly in this season. Look around. Candlelights appear here on the Advent wreath. Outside we find strings of light thread across streets, in shop windows, on housetop gables, on fireplace mantles, and on Christmas trees. These festive lights this season of the year actually have a Christian history, but not a Christian origin. Let’s take a step backward in history before we move forward. Read More

Receive

As we live in this season of Advent, awaiting the coming of the Lord, we might examine our hearts to see if they are truly open. Are we open to God speaking to us in the language of everyday events? Are we willing to hear God’s admonitions and to accept God’s guidance, or are we happier to justify our selfish behaviors and chart our own way in life? May the Lord find in us hearts that are open and ready to receive him, whenever and however he chooses to come to us.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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O Radiant Light: Come and Enlighten Us

Tuesday December 11 is the second sermon in our Advent preaching series during the 5:30 PM Holy Eucharist. The series’ theme is Lord Jesus, Come Soon. Br. Curtis Almquist will be preaching on “O Radiant Light: Come and enlighten us.” A soup and bread supper will follow, with focused conversation about the sermon. Please invite family and friends to join you here the Monastery for this sermon series. It’s a great way to introduce people to the Monastery.

Listen to or read Br. Jim’s sermon on “O Wisdom” from last week. 

And mark your calendars for the final sermon in the series: Tuesday, 18 December: Br Geoffrey Tristram: O Root of Jesse: Come and deliver us

Wake Up

Have you ever had the experience of driving for several hours, and someone wakes up in the car and says, “Have we been through (a certain town)?” And although you’re driving, you just can’t remember. I drove through that whole town and don’t remember a thing. We can live our lives like that – half-asleep, daydreaming through life. Jesus says, no, stay awake. Don’t live your life half asleep.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Open Wide – Br. Luke Ditewig

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Br. Luke DitewigLuke 3:1-6

Shopping these days feels like sensory overload. We’re bombarded with messages: Your home can be the best with these trees, ornaments, garlands, and nicknacks. Here’s the present for you. Get ready—Christmas is coming! December and year round, our culture tells us to look good and to have the right stuff. That what we have and how we look determines who we are.

We want to have our living spaces in order before anyone comes over. Don’t drop by because it—and I—might not be together. This is hard for me. I have always strived to keep my rooms organized with my loose ends and junk nicely hidden under the bed, in the closet, or under carefully draped fabric.

While it may not be an orderly space, what’s particularly important to your presenting image? We’re taught to consider what we wear, the stuff we own, the people we know, the places we’ve been, and what we have done. We consider what we let others see and for what they don’t see. Get ready—someone is looking at us!

In our Gospel text, someone is coming. God comes to John in the wilderness: not a fun place out in nature, but a harsh land where few people go. John looks odd, dressed in camel’s hair eating locusts and honey as Matthew and Mark tell us. An odd man in an odd place, and lots of people came from all around the region. John is not fancy nor fashionable, but many people listen and do what he invites. John is not the awaited guest; he points to Jesus. Get ready—God is coming! Read More