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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.

Hope

Tree stumps appear lifeless and impotent, but every once in a while, a miracle occurs and a stump sends out a fresh shoot, and death gives way to life. Don’t give in to despair, but listen instead for the voices of hope. “With God all things are possible.”

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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God, grant him many years!

This month our brother, David Allen celebrates two significant anniversaries. On Thursday, 19 December he celebrates his 90thbirthday and on the 21st, the 61st anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. There will be a reception in honor of Brother David after the Eucharist on Sunday, 15 December. Please join us that day as we give thanks for Brother David.

Truth

Whenever and however it comes, the word of truth, God’s truth, has the power to change people. And those to whom God’s truth is spoken have a choice: they can choose to hear that word of truth, or they can choose to ignore it. If we choose to hear the word of truth, we will be changed.

-Br. James Koester, SSJE

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Tomorrow: Advent Compline

We warmly invite you to join us tomorrow, Thursday 12/12, for a special service of contemplative Compline. Doors open at 7:30pm; the service begins at 8pm. You’re welcome to share with us in thirty minutes of silent contemplation before and following the service. Invite a friend to join you for this rich, candle-lit service: an invitation to sink into beauty, silence, and contemplation.

Keep Awake

We are ordered to be perfect, and we fail. Jesus then brings perfection to us. We are ordered to sin no more, and we sin again. Jesus then brings innocence to us. We are ordered to love, and we hate. Jesus then brings love to us. We are ordered to keep awake, and we fall asleep. Jesus then brings us the waking hour. Let us fix our gaze on the hand of God, in anticipation that God will hold our hearts in his grasp. Trusting in the strength of the Lord, let us keep awake.

-Br. Lucas Hall, SSJE

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Chosen by God – Br. James Koester

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Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Psalm 98
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Luke 1:26-38

Those of you who have joined us at one point or another for one of our meals, will know that most of the time, on most days, we listen to the reading of a book during the meal. It’s only on Sundays, Tuesdays and some feast days that we share in conversation. A number of years ago, our book of choice was a little denser than we normally read at meals, as we read Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary by Miri Rubin. Mother of God was a heavy read, and as we joked at the time, in the end we knew more about Mary than she knew about herself! One of the underlying themes of the book was that before she became known as the Mother of God, before she became known as the Queen of Heaven, she was simply Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of Jesus. In essence, underlying all the titles, and the various devotions, that is who she was, and that is who she remains, Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of Jesus.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that young girl of Nazareth. It is a feast not spoken of in scripture but one deeply rooted in the tradition of the Church from ancient times, and one which says as much about us, and our life in God, as it does about Mary herself, and her life in God. So while the focus today is on Mary, we see in her the source, and ground, of our own life of faith. In looking at Mary we gaze not outwardly, or even upwardly, but inwardly to our own adoption as children of God[1] because it is there that we find Mary’s true vocation, and ours as well, to be the adopted daughters and sons of God.

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Wait

Jesus’s fundamental stance is to wait; to tend; to apply therapeutic rather than punitive measures; to favor time and fertilizer over the axe. This is the love of the gardener.

-Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE

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Child of God

God sees you not unlike we see a child in a Christmas play. No matter how well the child acts, whether or not the child remembers his or her lines, whether the child picks up the cues or drops the props, we’re full of delight, compassion, encouragement, and gratitude for how well the child does. We are all children of God. And God adores us.

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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Holy Waiting – Br. Sean Glenn

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Br. Sean Glenn

Isaiah 11:1-10 :: Romans 12:4-13 :: Matthew 3:1-12

As the years go by, I find myself more and more aware of a peculiar dissonance. Before the leftovers of our Thanksgiving Day feasts have even cooled, our culture plunges into a season of marked material excess. Commercial advertisements don the gay apparel of remixed, upbeat holiday jingles. Tinsel and lights adorn city streets and public squares. Numberless holiday sales abound, drawing us into a frenzy of stressful shopping, trailed shortly after by the accompanying waste. All attended by the familiar, portly figure of a jolly Santa Claus. 

Please don’t misunderstand me; it is not my attempt here to polemicize the popular festivities of our ambient culture. (Not entirely.) There is nothing wrong with the desire to give gifts to one another, per se. There is nothing wrong with warming the dark, frigid nights of a northern December with song, festivities, fellowship, and lights, per se. These are all good things, to be sure, and doubtless God can speak some word of life to us through it all. Nevertheless, the moment our culture attaches the name of Jesus Christ to this prolonged cultural season of excess, I have to wonder if we are really being adequately prepared for the significance of Christmas. The difference of horizon between a season marked by Santa Claus and one marked (at least in part) by John the Baptist, it is safe to say, is a difference not of quality but of kind.

Advent is by contrast a full-blooded, lean, and demanding season in the life of the church. A season characterized by expectant waiting and honest self-examination. A season that seeks to prepare us for a revolution, but not just any revolution. Today and next Sunday are marked by the unmistakable cry of John the Baptist—the gaunt, desert-dwelling prophet, clad in a camel’s hair mantle[1] and a lone leather belt. 

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