Practicing Forgiveness in the Midst of Resentment – Br. Jack Crowley 

Matthew 18:21-35 

If you came here tonight expecting some lighthearted readings, I’m sorry to disappoint. You know things are serious when Jesus starts using words like prison and torture. So, what’s the cause of such gravity? 

Forgiveness. Jesus is talking about forgiveness. In our Gospel tonight, Jesus frames forgiveness in serious and powerful tones.  

We know the power of forgiveness. We know this already in our hearts. We know what an amazing feeling it is to forgive and be forgiven. We know those awesome moments of reconciliation when friends heal rifts and grow stronger. 

We also all know the power of resentments. Resentments have the power to strangle moments of joy out of our lives. Resentments have the power to keep us up at night, fuming in our beds. Resentments have the power to harden our hearts and make us into people we don’t want to be.  Read More

Called and Sent: Becoming Apostles – Br. Keith Nelson

St. Andrew the Apostle

Deuteronomy 30:11-14;
Romans 10:8b-18;
Matthew 4:18-22

In the Eastern Church, St. Andrew is known by the title Protokletos: St. Andrew, the First-Called.

In this first week of Advent, the first week of the liturgical year, today’s feast provides a simple but profound opportunity to return to first principles.

In a contemplative spirit, we can pause to reconsider some fundamental questions about what it means to be called by Jesus, and what it means to be sent.

Through whom did Jesus first call you? Read More

Best Gifts – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Clement of Rome

Luke 6:37-45

You’ll get what you give, Jesus says. Forgive and be forgiven. Judge and be judged. Compassion. Accusation. There’s reciprocity in relationship. Don’t give what you don’t want to get, especially with feedback, correction, or teaching, acknowledge your own needs. Keep at own work first. “Take the log out of your own eye so you can even rightly see the speck in your neighbor’s.” You might need help. Logs are heavy. Jesus gives a direct word because community is hard work. We need each other. It’s easy to find fault, to hold onto hurt, distance, and cut off.

Today we remember Clement of Rome, an early church leader. There was division at the church in Corinth when some younger leaders convinced the whole to remove the ruling elders. Clement wrote a pastoral letter calling the community to stick it out and abide together, to keep and listen to its elders. Clement called for maintaining hierarchy and for balance with mutuality. For a couple centuries, some included Clement’s Letter to the Corinthians in the New Testament. Clement wrote: “All work together and are mutually subject for the preservation of the whole body.” Read More

Conflict – Br. Jack Crowley

Mark 10:35-45

Jesus had twelve Disciples to manage. That means everyday he had twelve personalities to deal with, twelve opinions to listen to, twelve sets of emotional baggage to unpack, and twelve different backgrounds to understand. Jesus and his Disciples were not working remotely. This was not a Monday through Friday, nine to five gig. They were together all the time, and as our Gospel lesson today shows us, they did not always get along.

One might think that having the Son of God as the leader of the Disciples would prevent any conflict from arising. The Gospels show us that this is simply not the case. Despite witnessing Jesus’s miracles firsthand and having front row seats to his preaching, the Disciples still occasionally argued like children fighting over who gets to sit in the front seat of the car.

The drama of our Gospel lesson this morning centered on the Disciples James and John Zebedee. James and John were biological brothers. They were fishermen by trade who famously walked away from their job in the middle of a workday when they first called by Jesus.   Read More

The Radical Practice of Enclosure – Br. James Koester

Br. James Koester

My parents would certainly never have used the word enclosure, nor thought that the practice they were inculcating in their children was a monastic practice, but growing up I lived in a house that lived, to a certain extent, by a limited rule of enclosure.

One of the ways we practiced this was that our bedrooms were off limit to our friends. Bedrooms were not regarded as play areas, and while we could play there quietly on our own, we could not invite our friends into them. We entertained our friends in the living room or the basement, but not in our bedrooms. I was always a little uncomfortable when visiting a friend’s house to be invited into their bedrooms. I had the feeling that I shouldn’t be there. Read More