A Sermon preached for SSJE Fellowship Day, 3 May 2014.
Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.
Texts: Isaiah 44:1-8; Psalm 92:1-2, 11-14; 1 John 5:1-13 John 20: 1 – 9.
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Thank you Brother Geoffrey, and all Brothers of this Society, for the kind invitation to preach here on this special occasion. I am honored to do so.
In 1950, the English novelist Dame Rose Macaulay, then living in London, received an airmail letter from one John Hamilton Cowper Johnson of
980 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, Massachusetts, better known as Father Johnson of SSJE. Father Johnson had known Rose Macaulay slightly when he had been at St Edward’s House in Westminster some 30 years earlier. He was writing now because he had enjoyed her most recent novel. (It’s nice to think that monks, too, write fan letters!) Macaulay replied, and so began a correspondence that lasted for eight years, until her death. (1)
Well, beloved, it is a blessed day to celebrate. It’s hard not to know oneself beloved in the midst of a community gathered in love, enfolded by the warmth of the sun/son and the tender wind of God. The greenness all around us is evidence of the promise of resurrection to restore all creation. The greenness within us is equal evidence of connection with the source of belovedness.
We opened by praying those remarkable words about Jesus, who drew the beloved disciple into deep intimacy, giving him the grace of resurrection in his inmost being. That is also the prayer for each one here.
The mystery of the beloved disciple is his identity, and the blessing is that it’s not quite fixed. The debates over whether it’s John bar Zebedee, or Lazarus, or even Mary Magdalene make a place for others to enter in. As Jesus is ‘the son of the man,’ the beloved disciple becomes a way we may be the human disciple, beloved of God.
Preached by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Sermon for the Feast Day of St. John, The Beloved Disciple
Isaiah 44:1-8 1 John 5:1-13
Psalm 92:1-2, 11-14 John 20:1-9
Friends, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be back in this chapel and to share this service with you. One of my great losses in moving away from Cambridge four years ago was the loss of easy contact with this place, and with you Brothers, and with this community of faith. I rejoice to be with you today and to have a chance to reflect on this morning’s Gospel.