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Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Week 5

Week 5 Compilation: Abide in Me

We are pleased to share this compilation of the fifth week’s videos, which take up the theme “Abide in Me.” We hope this compilation will help you to catch up on any videos you might have missed, as well as to provide an easy way to share the week’s videos in a group. We’d love to know how this week went for you!

Week 5 Day 1: Beloved Children of God

Week 5 Day 2: Protected and Guided by Love

Week 5 Day 3: Nurtured and Sustained by Love

Week 5 Day 4: Made Fruitful by Love

Week 5 Day 5: Accompanied by the Spirit

Week 5 Day 6: Abiding in Love

Week 5 Day 6: Abiding in Love

“Abide in me as I abide in you.”
John 15:4

Abiding in Love
So there’s a little paradox here: On the one hand, we can’t be separated from the love of God in Christ, but on the other hand we can be more intentional about abiding in this love as a conscious choice.

-Br. Mark Brown



Transcript:

Our theme for today is “abiding in love.” From the Gospel of John: “Abide in me as I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” That word ‘abide,’ it could also be ‘remain.’ Remain in me – and there’s something about that word, remaining, that suggests something intentional, something even persistent. Yes, we are in Christ and Christ is in us regardless, but by telling us to ‘abide’ or to ‘remain,’ Christ invites us to embrace that in a more intentional way as a voluntary choice. So there’s a little paradox here. On the one hand, we can’t be separated from the love of God and Christ, as Paul put it in the letter to the Romans, but we can be more intentional about dwelling, remaining, persisting in this love as a conscious choice, abiding in this love, remaining in this love. So if I were praying with this, I might reflect on making the decision in a conscious, deliberate, intentional way to abide in Christ and in God’s love, as Christ and God’s love abide in me, of my own free will. Perhaps the Spirit is inviting you to make that decision here and now.

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

Week 5 Day 5: Accompanied by the Spirit

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
John 14:15-17

Accompanied by the Spirit
If I’m honest, it’s a real challenge to abide in Christ for the long haul.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram



Transcript:

If I’m honest, it’s a real challenge to abide in Christ for the long haul. There are powerful forces, which may draw me away from Christ, take me along paths that don’t lead to life.  But we’re not on our own, for God has sent us the Holy Spirit, this extraordinary gift.  And these words from John’s gospel: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments and I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to be with you forever. This is the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you and will be in you.”

The gift of the ‘advocate’, in Greek the word is parakletos, which can also be translated as the “comforter.”  And many people like that, the sound of a ‘comforter,’ but I’ve almost invariably found the work of the Holy Spirit not at all comfortable, but actually very challenging to me in my life. There’s a great image in the Bayeux tapestry, that great tapestry of the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror, and there’s one panel which features Bishop Odo, William’s brother, and there’s an image of him with what looks like a great spear in his hand and he’s prodding the man in front of him with the spear. And underneath it, it says, “Bishop Odo comforts his men.”

I found that in many ways, the Holy Spirit is so often like that in my life. The spirit prods me into action, prods me when I’m falling asleep and prods me to become more authentic, because this is the ‘Spirit of Truth’ who wants me to live a more truthful and authentic life in Christ.

So maybe you might want to reflect today about your own lives.  Where, perhaps, have you experienced, and maybe today, are experiencing God, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, prodding you into action, challenging you? And secondly, what new truths are you being called to embrace today?

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

Week 5 Day 4: Made Fruitful by Love

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

Made Fruitful by Love
It’s important for us first of all to receive God’s love, before we can give it away. We need to stay connected to that love, in tune with that love, in communion with that love.

-Br. David Vryhof



Transcript:

Throughout this series we’ve noticed the deep connection and intimate union between Jesus and the one that he calls Father. And we have seen that in Jesus’ understanding the fruitfulness of his life and ministry is entirely dependent on maintaining this union and communion with the Father. He says, “I can do nothing on my own.” And he teaches his disciples and us, that our fruitfulness also depends on this living union with the Divine Life. And that to be fruitful, to produce works and character that have lasting influence in the eyes of God, we will need to abide in him as he abides in us.

I remember when I was in college, I worked with children who had special needs. And I remember one evening being at supper and watching a young boy who was struggling to cut a piece of meat, but his hands lacked the strength and coordination to be successful in the task. And finally he looked up and asked for help. And one of the staff members came around behind him, wrapped her arms around his, put her hands over his, and helped him cut the meat. And I thought that was an apt image for our relationship with God. When we realize that we can do nothing on our own, that we are dependent on God’s life and strength within us, then we yield ourselves to that strength, and God’s strength becomes one with our strength, so that we can’t tell where our strength leaves off and where God’s strength begins. It all becomes one.

John says, “We love because he first loved us,” so it’s important for us first of all to receive that love, before we can give it away. We need to stay connected to that love, in tune with that love, in communion with that love. So today, we invite you to take into your prayer this image of the vine and the branches. And consider how dependent branches are on the vine for their life and for their fruit. Consider how the vine grower may need to prune the vine to make it more fruitful. Bring this metaphor into your own life and ask yourself, “How do I stay connected to this source of life and light? What interferes with that connection? What stops the flow of that divine energy and how can I remain in intimate union with Jesus?” That connection is the source, the key, the secret, to our fruitfulness.

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

Week 5 Day 3: Nurtured and Sustained by Love

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
John 6:51

Nurtured and Sustained by Love
Jesus keeps giving us – like our daily bread – food, nourishment for the soul, which is indeed himself.

-Br. Luke Ditewig



Transcript:

Our theme this week is learning to sustain a relationship of love. To abide in Jesus as he abides in us. And we’re asking, what does it take to sustain an intimate relationship?

(In) today’s verse, Jesus says, “I am the living bread which comes down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. And the bread that I give for the life of the world is my flesh.” To sustain a relationship, Jesus keeps offering us himself, and invites us to feed on his nourishment. Consider eating. It’s something we do every day, it’s something our bodies need over and over again. And Jesus keeps giving us – like our daily bread – food, nourishment for the soul, which is indeed himself. This relates certainly to the Eucharist, where God is present. But it’s also beyond that. God gives us himself, in the silence of our hearts, in companionship with friends, in the richness of scripture.

How is Jesus feeding, nourishing you? And like your eating, it’s something every day. So how are you being nourished each day by Jesus? And not just a “run and go.” But stop to savor the nourishment that is provided. And this is communal. Eat with others. Share food. Enjoy it together. This is a common journey. Daily, savoring with others, Jesus’ offering his own self to you, for nourishment. How will you feed on Jesus today?

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

Week 5 Day 2: Protected and Guided by Love

“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

Week 5 Day 1: Beloved Children of God

“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