Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Twelve Days of Christmas – Subscribe to the Daily Email


This Christmas season, we invite you to unwrap gifts that last, by praying the twelve days of Christmas along with Br. Curtis Almquist through a daily audio book. Each day from Dec. 25 – Jan. 6, receive by email a short meditation on one of the gifts from God. Click here to subscribe and receive The Twelve Days of Christmas as an audiobook.

[If you already subscribe to SSJE’s mailing list, you will need to enter your email address and name to receive this offering.]

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


12DaysEmailThe 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.
  • The audio book, The Twelve Days of Christmas, is read by Br. Curtis Almquist and accompanied by carols sung by the Brothers.
  • To receive the audiobook as a daily email
    Fill out my online form.


  • To purchase a copy of the book The Twelve Days of Christmas, click here.
  • To purchase a copy of In Quiet Silence, the Brothers’ Christmas CD, click here.
  • Visit www.ssje.org for latest news and offering from the Brothers.


Through our faith we observe the law of love, loving God with all our heart and all our soul and all our strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. All of us can respond to God with faith, and hope, and love. Thanks be to God for his great gift of love!

-Br. David Allen, SSJE

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The invitation from God is always to come home. To know again just how much God loves you and then to take the risk every day to say ‘Lord, here am I,’ I am yours. I offer my life to you this day. Use me in your service.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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I’ve often assumed faith means the absence of fear. That if I just had enough faith I wouldn’t be afraid. But fear doesn’t negate faith.

-Br. Luke Ditewig, SSJE

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Unity in Diversity – Br. Nicholas Bartoli


Br. Nicholas BartoliRomans 14.1-12

It may be tempting today, looking around at the multitude of different denominations and churches, with all their varied practices and beliefs to wistfully look back at the first century of Christianity as simpler times, when we were all at least a bit more unified. It’s in this sort of spirit that we have a yearly week of prayer for Christian unity helping to remind us of our common heritage as followers of Christ, although not all Christians observe the occasion. Of course, there will likely be differences among us for as long as there is an “us,” and there have been differences and divisions among Christians from the beginning, with the very idea of what it meant to be a Christian often not well agreed upon.

When Paul was writing his letter to the Romans in the middle of the first century there probably weren’t anyone even calling themselves “Christians”. Paul himself never uses the term “Christian”, instead he using general terms like “brothers and sisters”, “assembly”, “church”, “congregation” or “saints”. The church in Rome, like many of the churches Paul had contact with, would have been a community composed of people with a variety of religious, spiritual, and philosophical backgrounds, including both Gentile and Jew. Read More


As important as it is to use our God-given minds, to study hard, to think deeply, and to glean the wisdom of age, God’s revelation is always going to happen at a lower level, in ways of knowing that may defy explanation and examination and yet which we know, absolutely, to be true in our heart.

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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Friends of Christ – Br. Lucas Hall

"Br.Luke 6:43-49

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” It is easy to hear this question harshly. It is easy for me to imagine Jesus asking this, vexed, frustrated, indignant, angry, at his wit’s end. And that’s a challenge. If Jesus really came into the world to save sinners,1 to show the utmost patience and mercy,2 to be our most steadfast friend and companion3…where are those qualities in this question?

Perhaps it might be helpful to engage in some self-reflection. How do I feel when I’ve experienced conflict with friends? When I’ve hurt a loved one, I may get defensive. I may conjure up offenses, real or imagined, that that friend has committed against me. I may feel the need to deflect responsibility, or engage in a perverse game of score-keeping; somehow, in these moments when I finish tallying the friendship score, I always seem to come out ahead. These feelings and behaviors, though, do not get at the heart of the issue. What really worries me when I’ve hurt a loved one is that I’ve created an irreparable breach, an eternally broken communion. It is a profoundly uncomfortable experience; I feel lonely, claustrophobic, anxious, and weary. Read More


I suspect we all have intuitions, even visions, of what God’s new heaven and new earth shall be like—the Hebrew prophets sketch this out a bit: the peaceable kingdom, justice, well-being and provision for all. For those of us who are impatient, we want all this now—we do not want to wait. We could sit and pout. Or, while we are all waiting for the mighty acts of God, we could do stuff. We can actually bring into being what we are waiting for, what we envision for the future.

-Br. Mark Brown, SSJE

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The spiritual journey leads upward, but there are evil forces at work against us. How can we resist them? By fleeing to God, by trusting wholly in God’s strength rather than in our own, by clinging to our true identity in God and abiding in that Love from which nothing can separate us.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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The Cross is Everywhere – Br. Keith Nelson

Br. Keith NelsonFeast of the Holy Cross

[John 12:31-36a] 

The cross is everywhere. The geometric figure of a horizontal and vertical line intersecting one another is an archetypal form, noticed in nature and reproduced by hand by most humans in most cultures. But I am referring only to the cross we know best, in all its stylistic and material variety. Picture in your mind’s eye simply two or three of the probably hundreds of crosses you have seen in your life. I immediately think of the plain wooden cross above the pulpit in the Baptist church of my childhood, the garish crucifix that hung over the temperamental photocopier in the Roman Catholic high school where I taught theology, and a simple brass cross with a tree in the center, a gift from my mom when I told her I might want to become a monk. In flea markets, Bible outlets, laser light shows, ancient catacombs, and war memorials; as two sticks tied together on the corrugated aluminum walls of a shack in Jamaica or Colombia or India or Louisiana; as a gilded masterpiece commissioned by royalty and venerated by pilgrims in Rome or Jerusalem or Canterbury; in polished mahogany, in precious stones, in welded scrap metal, in glow-in-the-dark plastic: the cross is everywhere.

But beyond this literal and material sense, there are at least two other senses in which the cross is everywhere. Read More

Holy Cross

Jesus promises to give us life, abundant life, and the context in which he speaks presumes the inevitability of the cross, which he shares with us – doesn’t spare us, but shares with us. Our theology hangs on the cross. And we either pick it up, or stumble over it, because it most certainly is there for those of us who choose to follow Jesus.

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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