Renewed Life – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Acts 8:26-40
John 15:1-8

Glorious spring is here with green popping up everywhere. Trees bud and flower with abundant, renewed life. Jesus describes himself as the true vine, us as branches, and God as the vine grower. Abide with me, Jesus says. Dwell, remain, stay connected to receive life from me. “Every branch that bears fruit [my Father] prunes to make it bear more fruit.” Pruning indeed helps bear fruit. It’s letting go in order to live.

Here’s what I was taught to look for when pruning trees. First, water sprouts, new young growth often all over a tree’s trunk and major branches. Second, branches touching or crossing each other. Third, anything growing backward toward the trunk instead of out. Fourth, branches that are actually dead. In all this, clear the center trunk, encouraging outward angled growth with space for each branch to grow.

Pruning lets go what is alive but not growing in a helpful direction. Pruning lets go what is dead but still taking up space. Pruning lets a tree more fully live and bear more fruit. Letting go is hard on trees and in our lives, yet key to living well. We Brothers say in our Rule of Life: “… we are to accept every experience which requires us to let go as an opportunity for Christ to bring us through death into life.”[i] Read More

Aslan is on the move! – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

John 10: 22-30

‘It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.’  ‘It was winter.’  I have been to Jerusalem in the winter, and there was snow on the ground, and it was bitterly cold. We think of Jesus in light, flowing robes and sandals, preaching in warm and sunny climes. But not in our Gospel today. John tells us very specifically that ‘it was winter.’ Usually John marks time by referring to the Jewish religious festivals, but here, very pointedly, he tells us that it was winter. As so often for John, seemingly insignificant words carry a profound, symbolic meaning. ‘It was winter, it was night…’

This story at the end of chapter 10 marks the climax of several chapters describing the increasingly hostile controversies between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. Here on this winter’s day, in the very temple itself, the words become ever more cold and bitter. Jesus finally seals his fate by declaring unequivocally, “The Father and I are one”, and the Jews pick up stones to stone him to death.

It was winter in Narnia, when those children in C. S. Lewis’ much-loved stories, first entered through the wardrobe into that magical land. Lucy went first. ‘She was standing in the middle of a wood, with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air. “Why is it winter here?” “The witch has made it always winter and never Christmas. But Aslan is on the move.”’ Read More