Meeting Us Where We Are, and Sending Us Out – Br. David Vryhof

Br. David Vryhof

John 20:19-31

Has the Risen Christ ever come to you when you were in a place of need?  If so, how did he come?

I’m moved by the resurrection accounts in the Fourth Gospel, in which Jesus returns to his broken-hearted disciples as the Risen One, meeting them just where they are.

Early in the morning of the first day of the week, he appears to Mary Magdalene just outside the tomb.[i]  She is confused and desperate, weighed down with grief and loss, and can only imagine that someone has, for reasons incomprehensible to her, removed the body from the tomb and laid it somewhere else.  Her teary eyes fail to recognize the One who speaks to her.  She assumes he is the gardener and pleads with him to tell her where they have laid him.  Then Jesus speaks her name.  “Mary.”  And her world immediately brightens.  Instantly, the weight of grief is lifted from her shoulders; hope springs anew; her teacher is alive!

Recall how Jesus appears to Peter, the faithful and devoted disciple who, swept up in a moment of fear, denied knowing his Lord three times.[ii]  Now he meets Jesus on the shores of Lake Galilee, where he has been fishing with the others.[iii]  Jesus speaks to him so tenderly.  “Peter, do you love me?”  Never a word of blame is spoken; Jesus does not criticize or shame. Three times the question is asked; three times Peter affirms his love for Jesus; three times the charge is given, “Feed my sheep.”[iv]  Jesus offers forgiveness, accepts Peter’s pledge of love, and restores him to a position of leadership among the disciples.  So kind, so tender, so sensitive to Peter’s pain, Jesus absolves him. Read More

All Things Are There – Br. Keith Nelson

Luke 21:34-36

It’s no secret that we live in a culture driven by obsession with surfaces and exteriors. We are driven constantly to the surface of things, actively discouraged from remembering that we even have depths. Our energies are spread thin across the surface as our will, our imaginations, our sensations, are driven to fixate upon exterior objects.

We have perpetual need of the reminder in 1 Samuel: “The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

God gazes upon your heart – the center of your inmost being – at this very moment. Many of you are here on retreat, a time in which you are invited to rest in God’s presence and let God love you.

When you are still and present to yourself and to this loving God, what does God see in your heart? Read More