Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Meeting Jesus

in the Gospel of John

Have you ever wished to deepen your relationship with God? To experience a warm friendship with God? Maybe even fall in love with God – again – or for the very first time?

Monastic Wisdom

for everyday

This six-week journey of reflection on the Gospel According to John is now available as an anytime series for individuals and groups. Subscribe to receive the series' video meditations from the SSJE Brothers directly in your inbox, or scroll down and view the videos below. This video offering is accompanied by a beautiful prayer journal, as well as facilitation guidance for small groups from the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary.

Lent 2019

If you are planning on using Meeting Jesus in Lent 2019, we recommend starting on Sunday, March 3.

To receive this offering in your inbox, as a daily email for six weeks, add the date you would like to begin. (We recommend that you start on a Sunday to maintain the weekly sequence). If you are going to follow this series as a group, we suggest that everyone coordinate the same start date to receive the videos in sync.

More about Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John.
A six-week journey into deeper intimacy with God by praying with the words of John the Evangelist (The Gospel According to John and First Letter of John). These two texts describe how God, out of deep love, sends God’s only Son Jesus into the world, to take on human form and live among us. By learning from Jesus, his human friendships, and his teachings about the God he calls ‘Father,’ we will discover God as One who longs for deep intimacy with each of us. We will take to heart the words of Jesus: “I and the Father are one.” We will find that God is not a judge, a disapproving parent, a policeman, or a taskmaster; rather God is our companion, our friend, our confidant, our beloved. We are even invited to abide in God as God abides in us. It is in relationship with Jesus that such extraordinary communion with God becomes a personal reality.

During this six-week offering, participants are invited to draw close to the God revealed in and through Jesus by meditating on the words of a daily verse from John. The monastic tradition in the church, with its hallowed practice of sacred reading, has since ancient times found John’s gospel a treasured key for opening the praying heart and awakening the praying mind. This remains true today for the Brothers of SSJE, who take their name and inspiration from John’s gospel and epistles. In a short video each day, an SSJE Brother will comment upon the daily scripture verse, share facets of his own relationship with Jesus and suggest possibilities for further reflection. At the start of each week, participants are prompted to pray for a particular grace; at the end of each week, an inviting question helps participants to translate that grace into daily life. To assist parish and small groups, we have produced a printed Prayer Journal. Facilitator’s Guides and other additional supporting materials are available online here >

Theological Reflection

Behold What You Are
Seeing Jesus & Ourselves in the Gospel According to John

Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE reflects on how reading and praying with John’s Gospel can allow each of us to see the ordinary, challenging, and even painful events of our lives as signs imbued with meaning.
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Prayer Journal

This beautiful 60-page journal inspires meditation on a daily verse from John, encouraging participants to respond through words, images, or however the Spirit leads.

Download here >

Facilitation Guidance for Groups

The Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary has created resources to help your community get small groups going.

See full support resources here >

Week 1 Day 1: God is Love

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“God’s love for you is without condition.”

Reflecting on I John 4:16, Br. Curtis Almquist invites us to let go of all the preconditions which we presume make us unlovable and embrace the actual circumstances of our life – good and bad – in which God meets us and loves us.

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Week 1 Day 2: God So Loved the World

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“So which world is it that God loves, the creation in its original glory, or the world that is fallen, broken, imperfect?”

Br. Mark Brown hears in John 3:16 the promise that we are loved in all our imperfect glory.

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Week 1 Day 3: Love’s Self-offering

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“We don’t have to earn this; this is a love that is given.”

Br. Keith Nelson suggests how praying with I John 4:9,10 can help us to trust in God’s grace, which transcends our individual feelings on any given day and prompts us to pray.

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Week 1 Day 4: That the World Might Be Saved

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“God uses experiences of brokenness to break through to us.”

Br. Luke Ditewig meditates on John 3:17, encouraging us to confront our awareness of shame and weakness, and then set it aside, listening for God’s loving response.

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Week 1 Day 5: Children of God

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“We know that we are loved by God.”

Br. David Vryhof encourages us to take John 1:12,13 to heart, embracing our central identity as beloved children of God.

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Week 1 Day 6: Love that Casts Out Fear

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“The deepest fear that we have is that of losing the loving regard of those close to us, or of even God.”

Br. Jonathan Maury reflects on I John 4:18, inviting us to bring our fears to the Father, just as Jesus did.

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Week 1 Compilation: God is Love

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A compilation of the first week’s videos, which take up the theme “God is Love.”

Watch the video and share your reflections >

Week 2 Day 1: In the Beginning

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“Jesus is God’s way of speaking to us.”

Br. Mark Brown muses on the incredible opening line of John’s Gospel, John 1:1, inviting us to pray with its mystery.

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Week 2 Day 2: The Word Was Made Flesh

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“In Jesus, God took on the totality of our humanity, which means that he was just like us in every way.”

Br. Geoffrey Tristram reflects on John 1:14 and its promise that there is no part of our life we cannot bring to God in prayer.

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Week 2 Day 3: Jesus, the Healer

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“Perhaps at times, like me, you’ve found yourself unable to believe that the love of God could include you.”

Br. Jonathan Maury meditates on the healing of the man at the pool at Bethzatha in John 5:2-6, sharing how it has become a touchstone in his own life of prayer.

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Week 2 Day 4: Jesus, the Teacher

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“When I consider Jesus as teacher, I often think of him as a kind of guru.”

Br. Nicholas Bartoli studies John 13:12-15 for an example of how we can model our lives on Jesus.

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Week 2 Day 5: Jesus, the Savior

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“Our first instinct, as soon as our lungs are cleared, is to cry out for help as loud as we can.”

Br. Jim Woodrum finds in I John 4:14 the promise that Jesus has come into our lives – and was incarnated into the human condition – to help us; all we have to do is ask.

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Week 2 Day 6: Jesus, the Risen Lord

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“When Christ breaks into our lives nothing is out of bounds.”

Br. Geoffrey Tristram hears in John 20:19,20 an invitation for us to open the locked places in our lives to Christ’s transforming love.

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Week 2 Compilation: The Word Became Flesh

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A compilation of the second week’s videos, which take up the theme “The Word Became Flesh.”

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Week 3 Day 1: Knowing and Being Known

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“As beautiful as we are, we’re also a bit of a mess.”

Br. Curtis Almquist reflects on the image of the Good Shepherd in John 10:14, a rich metaphor for our need of help and God’s abiding love for us.

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Week 3 Day 2: Loving and Being Loved

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“When we abide in God, when we abide in Jesus, we can thrive.”

Br. James Koester reads John 15:9 and offers practical ideas for how we might call on deep human friendships to help us abide in God.

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Week 3 Day 3: The Self-revelation of Intimacy

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“The more open we can be, the more authentic our prayer will be.”

Br. David Vryhof finds in John 5:20 the invitation to be vulnerable, open, and intimate in our relationship with God.

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Week 3 Day 4: Depending on God

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“In everything he does Jesus often stops and gives thanks and acknowledges his Father.”

Br. Jim Woodrum studies the model of Jesus’ relationship with the Father in John 5:19 for a hint of the relationship Jesus desires with us.

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Week 3 Day 5: Desiring God’s Will

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“Sit, listen to God, with a kind of expectancy that has no expectations.”

Br. Keith Nelson studies John 5:30 as a model for how we build loving relationships with friends and with God.

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Week 3 Day 6: United in Love

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“Do I focus on the gift, or do I turn and say thank you to the one who gave it?”

Br. Luke Ditewig reflects on I John 4:11,12, inviting us to nurture awareness of God’s love and God’s gifts in our lives.

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Week 3 Compilation: Close to the Father’s Heart

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A compilation of the third week’s videos, which take up the theme “Close to the Father’s Heart.”

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Week 4 Day 1: Near to the Heart of Jesus (The Beloved Disciple)

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“As we grow in our love for Jesus, we too begin to see Jesus in new ways in the world.”

Br. Geoffrey Tristram reflects on the beauty of John 13:23 and its portrait of intimate friendship between Jesus and the beloved disciple.

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Week 4 Day 2: Trusting in Jesus (Thomas)

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“Drenching our hands with holy water, filling our noses with incense smoke, taking hold of our friends and strangers when we exchange the peace, we are inspired to go out into the world to see and to take hold of Jesus.”

Br. Keith Nelson finds in the witness of Thomas in John 20:26-28 an invitation to a full-bodied engagement with liturgical worship.

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Week 4 Day 3: Accepting God’s Forgiveness (Peter)

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“Peter’s sins and transgressions mirror our own.”

Br. Lucas Hall meditates on John 21:15 and Christ’s unlimited mercy toward his disciples.

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Week 4 Day 4: Demonstrating Our Love (Mary of Bethany)

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“I find myself humbled by the story of Mary at Bethany.”

Br. Jonathan Maury looks to the devotion of Mary of Bethany in John 12:3 for an example of how we can move beyond words toward action in our love for Jesus.

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Week 4 Day 5: Proclaiming Our Love (Mary Magdalene)

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“I like to imagine God speaking my name in that tender way in which Jesus spoke the name of Mary.”

Meditating on John 20:18, Br. James Koester invites us to try the “reverse Jesus prayer,” hearing Jesus speak our name with love.

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Week 4 Day 6: Bringing Others to Jesus (Andrew)

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“How have you come to know Jesus?”

Br. Jim Woodrum looks to the example of Andrew in John 1:40-42 and finds inspiration for following our own calling to be evangelists.

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Week 4 Compilation: I Have Called You Friends

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A compilation of the fourth week’s videos, which take up the theme “I Have Called You Friends.”

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Week 5 Day 1: Beloved Children of God

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“The reminder about abiding, abiding, abiding is don’t run away. Stay put.”

Br. Curtis Almquist meditates on I John 3:1, marveling at the wonderful promise that Jesus not only invites us to abide with him, but that Jesus also wants to abide with us.

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Week 5 Day 2: Protected and Guided by Love

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“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 reflects on John 10:14,15 and encourages silence as a powerful practice for learning to hear God’s voice.

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Week 5 Day 3: Nurtured and Sustained by Love

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“Jesus keeps giving us – like our daily bread – food, nourishment for the soul, which is indeed himself.”

Reflecting on John 6:51, Br. Luke Ditewig notes that just as we need to eat every day, so we must allow ourselves to be nourished daily by Jesus.

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Week 5 Day 4: Made Fruitful by Love

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“It’s important for us first of all to receive God’s love, before we can give it away.”

Br. David Vryhof finds in John 15:5 a powerful image for our own need to stay connected to the love of God, a connection that is the source of our fruitfulness.

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Week 5 Day 5: Accompanied by the Spirit

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

Br. Geoffrey Tristram meditates on the promise of John 14:15-17, encouraging us to consider how the Spirit is prodding us toward authentic life in Christ.

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Week 5 Day 6: Abiding in Love

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“So there’s a little paradox here…”

Br. Mark Brown meditates on the paradox of John 15:4, pondering how we cannot be separated from God’s love in Christ and yet simultaneously can be more intentional about abiding in God’s love as a conscious choice.

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Week 5 Compilation: Abide in Me

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A compilation of the fifth week’s videos, which take up the theme “Abide in Me.”

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Week 6 Day 1: Sent into the World

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“What is it that you know in the bottom of your heart – of God’s light, and God’s life, and God’s love?”

Br. Curtis Almquist discovers in John 17:18 an invitation for us to speak the Gospel as it has been revealed to each of us, in the individual and unique circumstances of our lives.

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Week 6 Day 2: Serving Others in Love

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“When we give witness to the Word, most often we won’t be needing words.”

Br. Nicholas Bartoli meditates on I John 3:17,18 and finds the key to modeling Jesus’ love that lays down its life in the practice of vulnerability in community.

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Week 6 Day 3: Laying Down Our Lives

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“We’re made strong by the model of self-spending love so that we can go out into the world and practice it.”

Br. Keith Nelson finds in I John 3:16 a reminder that the most powerful way to testify to the risen Christ is through serving others in love.

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Week 6 Day 4: The Witness of the Evangelist

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“The reason we know about God’s love revealed in Jesus is because people we knew have witnessed to him on his behalf.”

John 21:24 inspires Br. Mark Brown to reflect on what it means to be a witness to the love of God in Christ.

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Week 6 Day 5: Declaring What We Have Seen and Heard

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“A real experience of God. That’s what the world is hungering for.”

Br. David Vryhof reflects on I John 1:1,2 and the importance of grounding our testimony in our own first-hand experience.

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Week 6 Day 6: Proclaiming Our Hope

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“How will the people at work know that God loves you?”

Br. James Koester reflects on John 4:39 for inspiration in how we are called to testify to God’s love for us.

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Week 6 Compilation: We Declare to You

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A compilation of the sixth week’s videos, which take up the theme “We Declare to You.”

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