“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”
John 10:14,15

Protected and Guided by Love
There’s a lot of noise in the world and the noise can be distracting. But when we take some time in silence, to listen, to God as we would listen to a friend, we can come to know the one who speaks to us.

-Br. James Koester



Transcript:

This week we’re thinking of different ways in which we can abide, both us abiding in God, and God abiding in us. I want to reflect for a few moments on that wonderful section from John’s Gospel about the Good Shepherd.

“I am the good shepherd,” Jesus says. And specifically, “I am the good shepherd”, verse 14. “I am the good shepherd, I know my own, and my own know me.”

I think that one of the ways that which we can develop our relationship with God is to think about our relationship with our friends, our human friends, because I think that has a lot to say about how we can develop our relationship, our friendship, with God. And just as we know that friendship takes time, it takes energy, it takes effort, but it also takes a degree of listening to one another and we can only listen to one another when we’re silent, when I’m silent, in order to listen to my friend.

That’s one of the disciplines, which I think, which for me, is incredibly powerful here at the monastery. People discover the grace of silence and what silence can be. There’s a lot of noise in the world. People come here and they’re often surprised by the silence and what they can hear in the silence. Earlier, in Chapter 10 of John’s Gospel in this Good Shepherd passage, Jesus says that, “His sheep will follow him because they know his voice.

So I think the question for us is, how can we know the voice of God? For me, we can only know the voice of God, or one of the ways that we can know the voice of God, is through the practice and discipline of silence. As I said, there’s a lot of noise in the world and the noise can be distracting.  It can be overwhelming. But when we take some time in silence, to listen, as we would listen to a friend, we can come to know the one who speaks to us.

So I’d suggest that this week you might try some silence. Spend 10 minutes in the morning in silence – no radio, no TV, no headphones. Just spend some time in silence, and see if you can hear the voice of God speaking to you. And in that way, you can come to know God as God knows you.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.”
I John 3:1

Beloved Children of God
What may seem to us a black hole of need is actually a mine, and it’s a gold mine, which Jesus wants to unearth to bring into the light. The reminder about abiding, abiding, abiding is don’t run away. Stay put.

-Br. Curtis Almquist



Transcript:

Our theme this week is inspired by Jesus’ words remembered in John chapter 15, “Abide in me as I abide in you.” ‘Abide,’ that verb, which is repeated so many times in the Gospel according to John and the three epistles (of John). To stay, to be there, to dwell there, why is that repeated so many times?

For one, we may find ourselves not being able to believe that Jesus wants to abide in us. We can barely take ourselves. There may be something about ourselves – how we practice our life, our own sense of brokenness, inadequacy, lack of discipline, of (some days) duplicity – which we find unacceptable, and surely Jesus wouldn’t accept it either. We may also find that we feel like a black hole of need. And yet, Jesus does want to come and abide in us. And what may seem to us a black hole of need is actually a mine, and it’s a gold mine, which Jesus wants to unearth to bring into the light. The reminder about abiding, abiding, abiding is don’t run away. Stay put. Jesus has come to you, is cherishing you, and wants to expose you to God’s light and God’s life and God’s love for you.

We remember today how we are called ‘beloved children of God.’ Now what do you know about children? Children are still growing, physically, mentally, developmentally. They don’t have it all together. And what’s beautiful in this reminder that we’re called ‘children of God’ is that God creates us as children. We enter this world as children. If we look to the scriptures, we discover that we are called ‘children’ in God’s eyes for the rest of our lives.

Now we can take inspiration from Jesus who was born as a child. We have these snapshots of Jesus in the Gospels when he’s a very young infant, when he’s age 12, and then we don’t see him again until he’s age 30. What was going on during all of those, what are sometimes called “hidden” years? We don’t know. But, it seems that he was getting it together, finding his voice, finding his calling, finding what his life was to be about. It took a long time for him to claim who he truly was and what he was created to be.

And so for you: who you are now has come through a series of the best of successes and probably the most miserable of mistakes. Children are prone to stumble and get lost and sometimes feel terribly abandoned and not understood. In God’s eyes, regardless of how old you are, you’ll always be regarded as a child. You might find it helpful to do some reflecting on what you know about being a child. What was it like for you growing up? What was it that was good and formative in your life? And what was it for you that was breaking and perhaps de-formative in life? Then how is it that you can take in that God knows you and loves you as a child, a child that you will always be?

You probably do not have your act completely together. It’s going to take you the rest of your life and beyond, I think, for that to happen. But take some consolation in knowing that God creates children, knows children, and knows and loves you as a child. Where do you find that inviting? And where do you find yourself resisting the love and acceptance? Because I think that resistance is probably an invitation point in your prayer to Jesus.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“One of the two who heard John speak and followed (Jesus) was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).”
John 1:40-42

Bringing Others to Jesus (Andrew)
How have you come to know Jesus? How has your relationship come into fruition with Jesus?

-Br. Jim Woodrum



Transcript:

This week, we’ve been exploring the theme of friendship with Jesus. We’ve explored this intimacy through the relationships that he had with several of his friends, like Peter, for instance. In our gospel lesson for today, from John chapter one, we learn that Peter became friends with Jesus through an introduction from his brother Andrew. We read, “One of the two of them who heard John the Baptist speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah,’ which is translated anointed.” In a way, you could say that Andrew was an evangelist. Now the word ‘evangelist’ these days has taken on sort of a negative connotation because it’s been associated with conquest or perhaps a conversion to a singular way of religious thought.

In reality, ‘evangelist’ comes from the Greek euangelion, which means ‘bearer of good news.’ It’s the same word that we get the word ‘angel.’ You may know, in the other gospels, you hear stories of angels coming to people to bear good news. An angel comes to Mary to say that she would bear Jesus. An angel comes to Joseph saying it was safe to take Mary as his wife. Angels come to the shepherds to say the Messiah as been born and where to find this Messiah, this boy, Jesus.

How have you come to know Jesus? How has your relationship come into fruition with Jesus? Perhaps like me you grew up in church and you learned about Jesus through Bible stories and through songs. You might have learned about Jesus by stumbling upon a chapel, such as the one that we have here in Cambridge, one where you found peace, and stillness, and solace in a very turbulent world, or perhaps through the actions of a friend, like Andrew, maybe someone who’s had influence on you, who has shown you friendship and grace and intimacy, and that has modeled and been a reflection of Jesus.

Jesus is calling us all into relationship. God wants to be with us in relationship, wants us to have abundant life, and a more fruitful life. This is what God desires. It’s through that intimacy that we also become evangelists by bearing that same light to other people. We become angels. How is it that we can become evangelists? How can we share the good news of Jesus with other people through word and deed?

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.”
John 20:18

Proclaiming Our Love (Mary Magdalene)
I like to imagine God speaking my name in that tender way in which Jesus spoke the name of Mary.

-Br. James Koester



Transcript:

This week, we’re looking at what it means to be friend of Jesus, and we’re using various people from John’s Gospel, who we know were friends of Jesus. And I’m looking today at Mary Magdalen, who’s one of my favorite characters in the Gospel of John. And specifically the story of Mary’s encounter with the Risen Lord at the empty tomb on that first Easter day.

You’ll know the story: Mary goes to the tomb, finds it empty, notices somebody in the garden, thinks it’s the gardener and asks, “Where they have put the body?” And the gardener speaks her name, “Mary.”  And it’s in the speaking of Mary’s name that she recognizes the Risen Lord in the person of the gardener. And she then rushes out to tell the disciples, to tell the apostles, “I have seen the Lord.”

One of the things that I like to do when I’m praying, is to use the Jesus prayer, which you may be familiar with. You can use a prayer rope if you have one. Or you can count it off on the knuckles of your finger, or whatever. But simply to repeat the prayer.

                  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, be merciful unto me, a sinner.

Sometimes I’ll reduce that to simply praying the name, Jesus. And repeat it over and over and over again. Jesus. Jesus.

Occasionally, I’ll do what I call the reverse Jesus prayer. And rather than praying the name of Jesus, I’ll actually pray my own name. James. James.

We all know that when people say our names, they can say it in all sorts of really different ways. James (said sternly), is very different than, James (spoken gently). And so I as pray my name, I like to imagine God speaking my name in that tender way in which Jesus spoke the name of Mary. And when I hear God speaking my name – James, James, James – like Mary, I have an encounter with the Risen Lord, and I can then rush out to the world and say, “I have seen the Lord.”

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
John 12:3

Demonstrating Our Love (Mary of Bethany)
I find myself humbled by the story of Mary at Bethany – Mary, who extravagantly pours forth with her whole self, body and soul, love upon Jesus.

-Br. Jonathan Maury



Transcript:

“I Have Called You Friends” is our theme in “Meeting Jesus in John’s Gospel” this week, and our focus today is demonstrating our love for Jesus as God’s friends. I am certain that you, as I have, have found times where I was reluctant or even refusing to accept and receive the overpowering love of God poured out on me in Jesus Christ. There’ve been many times where I felt completely unworthy of the love which brought me into being, saved me, and promises me, even now, eternal life.

And yet, that is what the befriending of God in Jesus is about. It is about that extravagant love, that self-offering by which God draws us into union with God’s own Self. I find myself humbled by the story of Mary at Bethany – Mary, who extravagantly pours forth in actions, loving actions, with her whole self, body and soul, love upon Jesus, love beyond words, at a time where Jesus himself is in deep need of that healing. And Mary is an example for me, as well, an example of going beyond words and, by actions … by actions in prayer, by actions toward others, my brothers and sisters who are God’s beloved disciples, of the love which I have received and remind them of Jesus.

In our prayer today, let us ask for a renewed awareness of that love of God in Christ, which is poured on us time and again in our life experiences, in our prayer, in our actions for other, and in our engagement with the world. And let us turn, then, in gratitude to the One who loved us first. For the love of Jesus, which holds us in being, which is the source of “our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life,” and the one who calls us to demonstrate and to bear and to carry that love in the life to come.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’” John 21:15

Accepting God’s Forgiveness (Peter)
Peter’s sins and transgressions mirror our own. With Christ’s commandment to Peter to also “feed his lambs,” Jesus is saying that love is not merely a matter of words, but of actions.

-Br. Lucas Hall



Transcript:

This week we’re focusing on the theme of Jesus’ personal relationships, and today we’re looking at the forgiveness of Peter in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John. In the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter had repeatedly denied knowing Christ. Here, Jesus is inviting Peter back into a loving relationship with him, demonstrating his unlimited mercy.

This is mercy that is aimed not just at forgiveness of the transgression but the restoration of relationship. It’s aimed at reconciliation. Peter’s proper place is to love Jesus and to be in communion with him. This mercy is aimed at restoring that communion to its former glory. In this, Peter’s sins and transgressions mirror our own. With Christ’s commandment to Peter to also “feed his lambs,” Jesus is saying that love is not merely a matter of words, but of actions.

I invite you to think about the parts of your life that you might like to bring to Jesus in a spirit of restoration, reconciliation, and love. I also would like you to think about how you might use that love to “feed Jesus’s lambs.”

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”
John 20:26-28

Trusting in Jesus (Thomas)
Drenching our hands with holy water, filling our noses with the fragrance of incense smoke, taking hold of our friends and strangers when we exchange the peace in church, we are inspired to go out into the world to see and to take hold of Jesus so that we can really follow him and live in intimate union with him.

-Br. Keith Nelson



Transcript:

From the 20th chapter of the Gospel according to John, “Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God.'”

“My Lord and my God.”  For me this is really the key to this passage, the key that opens a whole world, a whole inner universe of intimate union with Jesus. So when we’re praying for this grace to learn from Jesus’ followers what it means to live in intimate union with Jesus, we have an incredibly rich example in Thomas and his dramatic “before and after.”

Thomas, who before was probably resentful, maybe angry, definitely isolated, was dropped into a new level, a deeper level of intimate union with Jesus by returning to his community, and by accepting the invitation of Jesus to touch him. So when I think about what this passage can mean for our life as followers of Jesus seeking to live in intimate union with him, I think about the difference between trying to do the Christian life as an isolated individual, which really doesn’t work in my experience and in our experience as a community. And I think about a wholehearted engagement with Christian community. So I think about the practice of going to church. Going to church when you feel like it, but definitely going to church when you don’t feel like it. Showing up, being there because Jesus is there in the assembled Body, the whole community, which is stronger than the individual alone.

I also think about the example in this passage, the spiritual wisdom in this passage, a full-bodied engagement with liturgical worship. So drenching our hands with holy water, filling our noses with the fragrance of incense smoke, taking hold of our friends and strangers when we exchange the peace in church, and then being inspired to go out into the world to see and to take hold of Jesus so that we can really follow him and live in intimate union with him.

So a practice of prayer that I engage in in my own prayer journal is I have a red pen and I have a blue pen. The blue pen is me; the red pen is Jesus. So I write in my blue pen in a really uncensored, honest kind of way, the same uncensored honesty that we see in Thomas.  And then I stop and I listen and I wait to hear what Jesus has to say in response to me, and often I use specific titles, specific nicknames for Jesus, and as I’ve come to listen in this practice, there are nicknames, titles, names for me that Jesus uses in reply. So you might try something like that in your prayer journal. Have a color for Jesus, have a color for you, and have a truly intimate conversation.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“One of his disciples – the one whom Jesus loved – was reclining next to him.”
John 13:23

Near to the Heart of Jesus (The Beloved Disciple)
As we grow in our love for Jesus, we too begin to see Jesus in new ways in the world, in other people. We recognize him often in places where we don’t expect to find him.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram



Transcript:

This week, we are considering how Jesus has called us to friendship with him: “I have called you friends.” Today, we are reflecting on a beautiful passage taken from the story of the Last Supper. It is the image of the beloved disciple (often taken as John) resting next to Jesus. “One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.” He’s reclining next to him. Actually, the Greek says something much more startling. It says, literally, that the beloved disciple was resting “on the breast” or “on the bosom” of Jesus. That conveys that very deep and special intimate friendship that Jesus had particularly with that beloved disciple.

The wonderful thing is that Jesus calls each one of us to that same level of deep friendship with him, a friendship where we can trust in him, rest on him, trust in him. “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” One of the fruits of that friendship which the beloved disciple had with Jesus, because of the depth of his love for Jesus he actually saw Jesus’ presence in the world in a special way. He recognized Jesus where others didn’t. The love that he bore for Jesus, as it were, opened his eyes to recognize Jesus. Remember how he ran with Peter to the tomb and it’s John who believed. When Peter and John were out fishing, it is John who said, “It is the Lord.”

I believe that we too, as we grow in our love for Jesus, we too begin to see Jesus in new ways in the world, in other people. We recognize him often in places where we don’t expect to find him. The love we have, as it were, opens our eyes so that we recognize him in our midst.  So perhaps today, two questions to reflect on: First of all, how might Jesus be calling you now into deeper friendship with him? And secondly, how do you recognize Jesus? Where do you recognize him in the world today?

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love on another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
I John 4:11,12

United in Love
When I receive a gift I have a choice. Do I just hold onto and focus on the gift, or do I turn and say thank you to the one who gave it?

-Br. Luke Ditewig



Transcript:

Our theme this week is to experience intimacy with Jesus in the same way that Jesus experiences intimacy with the one he called Father. And we’re asking what fosters or detracts from building intimacy, both in human relationships and with God.

Our verse today begins, “Beloved, because God has loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.”  When I receive a gift I have a choice. Do I just hold onto and focus on the gift, or do I turn and say thank you to the one who gave it? Turning towards the giver and saying thank you completes the gift, and it builds relationship between us. If I turn away, it detracts from our relationship. The same is with God. As I am aware of God’s love, when I stop, turn, and say thank you, that builds relationship. God loves me and as I turn and love others, that too is a way of responding to and saying thank you to God’s love.

How are you experiencing God’s love? What are the gifts you are receiving? Don’t just enjoy them. Stop, turn, and say thank you to God who is the giver of good gifts. Where is your invitation to turn and give thanks today?

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
John 5:30

Desiring God’s Will

Sit, listen to God, with a kind of expectancy that has no expectations, and ask God, “What would you like to do today?”

-Br. Keith Nelson



Transcript:

From the fifth chapter of the Gospel according to John: “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just because I seek to do, not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

So when I pray with this passage, I think immediately of some close friendships that I’ve had in my life. Perhaps you can think of your relationship with your partner or spouse or a close friend in your life, and that moment when you have free time together and one of you asks, “What would you like to do this afternoon?” And perhaps you say, “Oh it doesn’t matter to me, what would you like to do?” And there’s that back and forth where you both don’t really care what you do because what you really care about, what you really want, is simply to be with each other, just to spend time being and reveling in, celebrating, exploring the intimacy that exists between the two of you. And the activity really is secondary.

You might think of another relationship or another situation where that question is asked, “What would you like to do today?” And your first impulse, or perhaps even what you say, is “I’m so glad you asked,” and you have a list of things that you would like to do. I think we all know that that’s a different kind of feeling. One involves a kind of attentive listening, a kind of expectancy without any particular expectation about what happens. And the other kind of rushes in with a certain kind of self-will, even if it’s a very subtle self-will – there, in that instinctive moment where we fail to listen, where we fail to give space to the other, with whom we desire intimacy. That kind of instinctive self-will can really be an impediment to developing the kind of spacious intimacy that we desire, both in our human relationships as well as in our relationship, our unfolding relationship with intimacy with God.

So “I can do nothing on my own.” “I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me” requires a listening for what that will is, and a laying aside of our own self-will. So perhaps the way to pray with this might just be to sit, listen to God, with a kind of expectancy that has no expectations, and ask God, “What would you like to do today?”

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus