1 John 4: 7 – 16
Psalm 67
John 15: 9 – 12

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the marriage of Katharine and Michael Blachly

Today we rejoice with Katherine and Michael for twenty years of marriage. It might seem an odd thing to do, to come all the way from Dallas, to a monastery in Cambridge, with a group of friends, to celebrate a significant marriage anniversary, but in many ways, married couples and monks have a great deal in common. 

We say in our Rule of Life, and in the chapter on The Witness of Celibacyno less, that [our] fidelity to this vow [of celibacy] can be an encouragement to those who are united in the sacrament of Marriage; like them we depend on divine grace to help us remain steadfastly together until death through all the changes and trials of life.[1]Like a married couple, as monks, we too live lives of fidelity. 

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During the month of August, while the Chapel is closed, we are reposting sermons that we hope will inspire you to embrace play, rest, and recreation.

James Koester SSJEActs 16: 9-15Psalm 67Revelation 21: 10, 22 – 22: 5John 14: 23 – 29

Over the last several weeks I have been busy building raised garden beds. If you have been to Emery House, you may have seen them, or even inspected them. In one I have spinach and beets, in another lettuce, radishes and carrots. In a couple of smaller ones I have planted potato onions, shallots and Egyptian Walking Onions (now isn’t that a great name!). Last week I transplanted the creeping oregano into one and one of the guests carefully transplanted most of the perennial onions into another. Read More

jamesk1Acts 16: 9-15
Psalm 67
Revelation 21: 10, 22 – 22: 5
John 14: 23 – 29

Over the last several weeks I have been busy building raised garden beds. If you have been to Emery House, you may have seen them, or even inspected them. In one I have spinach and beets, in another lettuce, radishes and carrots. In a couple of smaller ones I have planted potato onions, shallots and Egyptian Walking Onions (now isn’t that a great name!). Last week I transplanted the creeping oregano into one and one of the guests carefully transplanted most of the perennial onions into another. Read More

Genesis 1:26-28/Psalm 67/1 Cor. 13: 1-13/Luke 10:25-37

A version of this sermon was preached July 17, 2011; twenty four Jewish, Muslim and Christian children from the Kids4Peace program (www.kids4peaceboston.org)  were present. Visit www.SSJE.org/galleries to see pictures from the morning.

I’ll bet some of you, when your parents see you, some of them will say, “Oh, Samih/Ma’or/Nicholas–you look bigger!”  Maybe they’ll be teasing you a little bit.  Maybe you’ll be only this much taller. But in another way, you will all be bigger.  Even if we can’t see it when we look at you. Maybe after these two weeks of Kids4Peace you’ll look exactly the same as you did before, but you are somehow bigger.  That’s what I’d like to talk about: getting bigger.

The story we just heard is sometimes called “The Good Samaritan”.  But I think we could also call it “The Big Samaritan”.  Now the story doesn’t tell us if the Samaritan man is tall or wide. But it does tell how he took care of the man who was robbed and beaten.  Why could we call it “The Big Samaritan”?  What is big about this man?  He has a big heart. Lev Gadol.  Qalb kbiir.  Or we might say he has a big soul. Nefesh gadol.  Nafs kbiir.  He has a big heart because he has compassion for someone who is suffering. Read More

Br. James Koester offered this homily on the prayer of penitence at the Monastery as part of the Teach Us to Pray series, January 26, 2010.

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle: Acts 26: 9 – 21; Psalm 67; Galatians 1: 11 – 24; Matthew 10: 16 – 22

We continue tonight our preaching series on prayer, drawing as we have done for this series, from the Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer and its teaching on prayer. There we read that “prayer is responding to God, by thought and by deeds, with or without words.[1] In addition, the Catechism teaches us that the principal kinds of prayer are “adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and thanksgiving.”[2]

Tonight we look at the prayer of penitence, a prayer most apt for us as we approach the coming days of Lent, but one equally appropriate as we examine it through the lens of the feast we mark tonight, the Conversion of Saint Paul, for penitence, to be life-giving, needs to be grounded not in fear of reprisal or retaliation but in our own ongoing conversion to the loving will of God. Read More

Jonah 3:1-4:11/Psalm 67/Luke 11:29-32

We continue this evening with “Seers and Sages: Preaching the Prophets.”  For this second installment I will be presumptuous and try a little prophecy of my own.  I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have the Times and the Globe and The Economist and online news sources. And the Bible: I’d like to do this with specific reference to Jonah–a minor prophet with a major message. Read More