Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Video

Week 5: My Relationship with Creation – Compilation


Workbook Exercise: My Creation Collage

Watch: Week 5 Day 1: Good Soil
How would you describe the ‘soil’ of your heart and soul at this time in your life?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 5 Day 2: Simply Gaze
To what part of nature do you most feel connected, and why?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 5 Day 3: The Work of Human Hands
What spiritual practices help to strengthen your connection with the natural world?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 5 Day 4: Vocation
How would you describe your unique ‘vocation’ in the world?
Answer: Click here to write your answer
.

Watch: Week 5 Day 5: Being Pruned
Where could your life be pruned to bear more fruit?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 5 Day 6: The Flow of Blessings
How can you connect with nature in ways that bring life?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 5 Day 7: Restoring Balance
How will you find a healthy and meaningful connection with the natural world?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Week 3: My Relationship with Self – Compilation

Week 2: My Relationship with God – Compilation


Workbook Exercise: My Garden Plot

Watch: Week 2 Day 1: Consider the Lilies
Pick something in God’s creation to “consider” today. What did you notice or observe?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Weel 2 Day 2: Wherever Love Is
What makes you most aware of God’s love?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 2 Day 3: Be the Soil
Do you feel connected to God’s love on a daily basis?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 2 Day 4: Nature Takes Time
What do you long for in your relationship with God?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 2 Day 5: Where Am I Going?
What needs to be weeded or cultivated in your soul for you to grow closer to God?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 2 Day 6: Offer an Intention
What spiritual practice might help you grow?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Watch: Week 2 Day 7: Space to Grow
What would help you renew your relationship with God?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.

Week 6 Day 7: Do It in Pencil

Week 6: Create a Solid Garden Plot
Workbook Exercise: My Rule of Life

Watch: Week 6 Day 7: Do It in Pencil
Draft a written Rule of Life that will enrich and enliven your relationships.
Answer:
Click here to write your answer.
Share: Invite and join with others #GrowRule

Transcript of Video:

During this course, we have been exploring the elements of a Rule of Life and how to create your own Rule of Life. Now we come to the exciting bit, which is bringing all the elements together and actually writing down a Rule of Life for yourself. And I would say right from the start that this isn’t a task so much as kind of fun. It’s something to really enjoy and saying, “Gosh, I really long to become more the person that God created me to be and I just know that if I can put certain things in place in my life that they will enable me to, as it were, be free enough to receive the grace of God,” because it is all about God and what God is longing to give to us. All we are really doing with a Rule of Life, rather like a gardener, is helping to create a terrain, helping to create enough space and other things to allow a young plant to receive the sun and the rain, and that’s really the model, I think, for a Rule of Life. We put certain things in place so that we are more able to receive what God has to give to us and of course, that gift is the gift of life itself, the abundant life that Jesus promised us.

So when you’re making this Rule of Life, first of all do it with a certain lightness of touch rather like creating a garden saying, “Hey, it would be good to do that – let’s see what that will be like,” and if it doesn’t work – well, change it. So make the Rule of Life do it with pencil so you can erase it later and say, “I thought that would be helpful, but actually, if I’m realistic, I simply won’t be able to do that, so I won’t do that.” I think God would just be delighted for your desire. Your desire to make of your life something which kind of honors God by putting in these elements of a Rule of Life, which will open you up to receive all the wonderful gifts that God has to give you.

So be patient, try it out, see how it works and be realistic, and be full of hope, and full of joy, because God is the one who, I believe, has encouraged you to do this because God so loves you that he longs for this deeper relationship with you and to give you that life, which is his great gift to each one of us.

– Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Week 6 Day 6: Boundaries

Week 6: Create a Solid Garden Plot
Workbook Exercise: My Rule of Life

Watch: Week 6 Day 6: Boundaries
What boundaries would it be helpful to put in place for yourself?
Answer:
Click here to write your answer.
Share: Invite and join with others #GrowRule

Transcript of Video:

So you can’t have openness without limitation, because without limitation then I would say if it is my own limits, and I don’t know my limits, or I don’t (observe) them, then I am just everywhere and there is nothing other than me everywhere. If that makes any sense. Where I end something else begins and that immediately introduces the notion of mystery, whether it is God or another person. In a rule we also talk about when we are relating to other people not trying to make them into images of ourselves or making these demands of control. That requires openness to another point-of-view, just anything other than me. I have a limit and therefore I have needs. I need other people and I also need rules, for a lack of a better word – structure, guidelines. I need a container for which to hold me, which I think is what attracts me to this life and what attracts me to having a Rule. I have resisted this as much as anyone of having rules imposed or structure. I mean I’d love to just lay in bed all day if I could and do absolutely nothing. But would I have much of a life or do much with my life that I feel is a divine gift? Absolutely not. So I need rules, I need structure in order to go further and further. And I find that for me what begins as sort of resistance to that, you know, I think first approaching this need for rules and structure hesitantly and reluctantly more because I have to and eventually tipping over to the point where I do it because I want to, because I see the benefit of doing it.

– Br John Braught

Week 6 Day 5: Redirect Growth

Week 6: Create a Solid Garden Plot
Workbook Exercise: My Rule of Life

Watch: Week 6 Day 5: Redirect Growth
How will you direct your energies towards that which gives life?
Answer:
Click here to write your answer.
Share: Invite and join with others #GrowRule

Transcript of Video:

Well, I think a helpful metaphor for giving things up is pruning. The reason plants are pruned is to, number one, sometimes give them shape, a better form visually. But it also redirects growth. If you prune a branch from a tree or a shrub or a vine, it will actually stimulate growth in another direction. So the monastic life is about saying no to some things in order that our energies can be directed in other directions. The vows, especially celibacy and poverty, are about saying no to certain things – and saying no to partnerships and sexuality expressed with others is a way of directing generative energies in other directions. Saying no to the acquisition of wealth and property is a way of experiencing life in community and sharing everything one has with other people, and not being distracted by the need to acquire wealth and status and power in those terms.

– Br. Mark Brown

Week 6 Day 4: Companions on the Journey

Week 6: Create a Solid Garden Plot
Workbook Exercise: My Rule of Life

Watch: Week 6 Day 4: Companions on the Journey
How might others support you on this journey?
Answer:
Click here to write your answer.
Share: Invite and join with others #GrowRule

Transcript of Video:

We need companions on the journey. We need people who we feel safe with, who we trust. We need to be with each other and to experience the wonders of life, to share them as well as to share the heartache and the sorry and the challenge. As one mentor told me, God has given us our companions. We may ask for others but most often, our companions are already given; we have neighbors. But it is a choice to interact, it is a choice to trust, it is a choice to invest to be with them, and to also let them change us, to receive the gifts that they have to offer. That’s part of this practice of life. That’s part of becoming more like God is to be choosing to be in relationship and to be interactive.

– Br. Luke Ditewig

Week 6 Day 3: What I Shall Be

Week 6: Create a Solid Garden Plot
Workbook Exercise: My Rule of Life

Watch: Week 6 Day 3: What I Shall Be
How will your Rule help you grow into the person you can be?
Answer:
Click here to write your answer.
Share: Invite and join with others #GrowRule

Transcript of Video:

So a community that has shaped me profoundly before coming to this Society has been a church community called “The Crossing” here in Boston. And a chant that we used to sing at the beginning of worship with “The Crossing,” the words are something like, “Take O take me as I am. Summon out what I shall be. Set your seal upon my heart and live in me.” And so when I think what challenges me personally about living a Rule of Life, I think about one challenge being complete trust in who I am, what I am just in this moment, as being completely beloved of God. So this, “Take O take me as I am,” part of the chant, the reality now in this moment is that I am enough, that God loves me completely, and in a way, that’s it. I can rejoice in the beauty, the truth, of that reality. And also, the work isn’t finished. That God has envisioned so much more for the unfolding of my life, for the ways that I am to give expression to God’s kingdom in the world, to the ways that I am destined to come to greater self-understanding, self-integration that I haven’t yet. So the “summon out what I shall be” part of the chant.

So I think that with a Rule of Life, with a balanced Rule of Life, there is a really healthy and whole holding of both a person’s present reality as completely beloved of God, and that there is so much more to unfold in the future that God has in store for us.

– Br. Keith Nelson

Week 6 Day 2: Say Thank You

Week 6: Create a Solid Garden Plot
Workbook Exercise: My Rule of Life

Watch: Week 6 Day 2: Say Thank You
How does gratitude show up in your life?
Answer:
Click here to write your answer.
Share: Invite and join with others #GrowRule

Transcript of Video:

I think I’d start by saying – I’d begin with a sense of deep gratitude for the gift of life itself. That we are, I am, these living beings that God created and the gift of life is a gift. And I think the best way to say thank you to the giver of that gift is to use the gift and cherish the gift and enjoy the gift. For me, a Rule of Life or building a trellis, which is a kind of Rule of Life, is about optimizing the conditions for my own life that give me a kind of balance and maximizes exposure to light, to use the plant metaphor growing on a trellis. It is a way of providing stability in my life when other things are unstable or unpredictable. The trellis also in some ways has its own integrity, its own beauty as a structure. I am thinking of a trellis in the garden; in the wintertime you just see the trellis and the plant is dormant. And sometimes we go through these winter times of life when life feels a little dormant but we have this structure, the daily rhythm, the daily routine, that we do anyway and it has its own beauty, even if we are not quite connecting with it in the moment.

– Br. Mark Brown