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Posts Tagged ‘Incarnation’

The Mystery of Relationship – Br. David Allen

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davidallen_1Lk 1:39-47

Recently, you may remember, I preached on The Incarnation of Jesus Christ as the Prime Holy Mystery.  Today I shall add to that the additional mystery of the relationship between Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

The Gospel reading tells us that at a certain point, six months after the Angel Gabriel had made his announcement to Mary, she “set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

The Bible tells us that Mary set out with haste to go to Zechariah’s house in the Judean hill country to visit her cousin Elizabeth.  We know that most people travelled in those days by foot.  What we don’t know is where she was starting from, and how long it would have taken her.  Do we really need to understand that? Read More

Who is Jesus Christ? – Guest Preacher Sam Aldred

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Who is Jesus Christ? This is a question that as Christians we must ask ourselves continuously. Who is this figure that stands at the heart of our faith? There is a tendency, a perfectly natural tendency, to focus on the humanity of Jesus, to see him, as it were, merely as a better version of ourselves. Jesus the good man. Jesus the wise teacher. Jesus the political activist. The one who hates to see injustice. Whilst none of these ideas are necessarily untrue, indeed they’re all right, by their very nature they only tell half the story. They only unveil half the picture.

Our Gospel reading today helps to shine light, perhaps give us some insights, into how the divinity of Jesus is manifested in his humanity. We hear of Jesus the healer. The miracle worker. The one who in raising the sick, and elsewhere in the Gospel of raising the dead, prefigures his own resurrection with the salvific importance that event has for all of creation. We hear of Jesus the cosmic warrior who, in casting out demons, is fighting a sort of proxy war on Earth in the constant, cosmic struggle between the forces of good and evil. We hear of Jesus Christ seated on his throne of judgment, looking forward to the end of all things when those who will dine at the heavenly banquet will be separated from those who will be cast into the outer darkness where we hear there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. We hear of Jesus the dynamic fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The Messiah. The Christ. The one in whom all the hopes and expectations of Israel are met.  Read More

The Word Was Made Beautiful – Br. Keith Nelson

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Br. Keith NelsonIsaiah 52:7-10 & John 1:1-14

We are here to celebrate Christ, to rejoice and revel in the revelation of the Word made Flesh, to fall headlong into belief for the first time, or the five-thousandth time. You are here, probably, to listen – for the first or the five-thousandth time, to “hear the good news of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation,” in the words of Isaiah. But, probably, you are also drawn to see. To see and exclaim, even before hearing, How beautiful. How beautiful: the messenger’s feet upon the mountains. How beautiful: the holy arm which the Lord has bared. My God, how beautiful: this Child we have sought with the eyes of our hearts for so long.

Christmas, for Christians in the West, is the foremost opportunity to re-embrace the Medieval impulse to look and to touch; to show things of great meaning first, then to tell as commentary on the showing. As the faith of Christians in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America remains to this day, the faith of the Medieval West was unabashedly sensory. Looking and touching and tasting were essential to believing, and they are even more so today. Read More

Joy to the World! – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Br. Geoffrey TristramIsaiah 52:7-10 / Psalm 98 / Hebrews 1:1-4 (5-12) / John 1:1-14

It’s Christmas Day. I love Christmas – and I love singing at Christmas! Christmas is a time for singing: everyone and everything seems to be singing. Have you noticed when you are in a really good mood, or at a birthday, or you’ve just heard a wonderful piece of news, you want to sing, or ring bells, or jump up and down – you can’t help it – it’s just joy! Particularly at Christmas, the Scriptures are full of singing. Our Psalm today: “Sing to the Lord a new song for he has done marvelous things – lift up your voice, rejoice and sing.” And not just people, but the whole of creation: “Shout for joy all you lands, lift up your voice, rejoice and sing … let the sea make a noise, let the rivers clap their hands … let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” (Psalm 96) At Christmas, it is as if the whole of creation is singing with joy! Read More

A Shady Principle Is Brought to Light – Br. Curtis Almquist

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Br. Curtis Almquist

Pentecost XVIII

Jesus said to the disciples,“There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property… 29And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes…”  10 Luke 16:1-13

We could easily find this Gospel lesson appointed for today either confusing or offending.  It seems that Jesus is praising the practices of a dishonest account manager.  The manager falsifies the amounts owed to his employer so that when this manager is out of a job – mind you, he’s being fired because of his dishonesty! – these same creditors with whom he is currying illicit favor would admire him or owe him, and ultimately welcome him into their homes! Read More

Now What Do I Do (With All This Religion) – Br. Mark Brown

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Mark-Brown-SSJE-2010-300x299The Book of Ecclesiasticus, also known as Sirach, has the distinction of being the only book in the Bible that counsels against putting your elbows on the table at dinner (41:19). Ecclesiasticus covers a wide swath of the human condition, from rapturous poetry in celebration of wisdom to the most mundane things, like how to behave at a dinner party.  Don’t eat too much, do enjoy the wine, but don’t drink too much.  Don’t interrupt the musicians. Don’t talk too much, don’t chew greedily.  Don’t be the last to leave. (Ch. 31-32)

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What the Word Became – Br. Mark Brown

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The angel of the Lord announced unto Mary;

 And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.


Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord;

Be it unto me according to your word….

Thus begins the Angelus, at Morning and Evening Prayer here in this chapel. Most of the year–we do something different in Eastertide.  The Angelus is based on the passage from Luke that we’ve just heard. With the addition, the important addition, of John 1:14.  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  The Word who was with God in the beginning, who was God; the Word through whom all things came to be.  The Word, the Logos, of God became human flesh in Jesus of Nazareth.  The Incarnation.  The Angelus is in part a salute to the Virgin Mary and a request for her prayers.  It is also a proclamation of the Incarnation and, in the concluding prayer, a concise summary of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ.  A good way to start the day. Read More

Vulnerable – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke DitewigNot long ago I shared with a Brother about a difficult experience and my emotions around it. This was something I had never told anyone before. Part of his empathic response was, “Luke, you’re human.” In the moment, I thought he meant the content of what I shared. But looking back, I see that it was in being vulnerable—risking to speak and be exposed—that I was most human.

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Jesus, Fully Human and Fully Divine – Br. David Allen

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In our first reading we find these words, “Rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of … hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:4-7)

Today we commemorate Leo, one of the great Bishops of Rome in the middle of the 5th Century, an important period for the Church.

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Christmas Day – Br. James Koester

Hebrews 1:1-12
John 1:1-14

If you have paid close attention you may have noticed that something is missing this morning, or perhaps I should say, someone is missing, and you would be right. We have all been waiting a long time for his arrival, and suddenly the day has come, and there is no sign of him.

At least there is no sign of him in the way we might expect. In a flash, the stable and manger have disappeared, and with them the donkey and cow and sheep. Everything has been swept clean and there is no sign of star or shepherds or angels or even of Mary and Joseph. Except for passing references in the hymns this morning, and the shrine at the back of the chapel, the baby is gone.

So here we find ourselves on Christmas morning and the very thing we have all come to see, a baby in a manger, is missing. Only the vague memory of his birth lingers like those baby pictures we have seen of our parents and grandparents. Like them, we know he must have been a baby at one time, but even on the day we celebrate his birth the memory of the baby is fleeting at best. Read More