Week 6 Day 6: Proclaiming Our Hope

“Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…”
John 4:39

Proclaiming Our Hope
I think one of the things we can do is Christians is to ‘testify’ to God’s love for us. We can do that with our words, but we can also do that with our actions. How will the people at work know that God loves you?

-Br. James Koester



Transcript:

This week, we’re thinking about what it means to give testimony or testify to God’s love, in a sense to be God’s heart, God’s hands, God’s voice in the world.  And I’m looking specifically at the story of the Samaritan woman in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John. I love this story because it’s both deeply encouraging to me and also a little terrifying. You’ll know the story. Jesus encounters the woman of Samaria at the well. He asks for some water, and they enter into this conversation. At one point, Jesus says, “Go and tell your husband,” and she says, “I have no husband,” and Jesus says, “You’re right you have no husband, you’ve had seven husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.” A few moments later in the story, the woman goes into the city, and this is the part I find encouraging and terrifying. She says, “This man has told me everything I’ve ever done.”

Just imagine for a moment having somebody know everything you’ve ever done. That can be both encouraging and terrifying, but I find it mostly encouraging, because I think the point of this story is how much Jesus loved the woman. He loved her not in spite of everything she’d ever done, but I think because of everything she’d ever done. The woman went into the city and told everybody about Jesus. She testified to Jesus through her words, but she was really testifying to God’s love for her. “This man told me everything I’ve ever done, and he wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed, or rejected me.”

I think one of the things we can do is Christians is to ‘testify’ to God’s love for us. We can do that with our words, but we can also do that with our actions. So, this week, you might want to think of, “How can I testify to God? How can I proclaim God’s love for me, both in word but also in action?” How will the people at work know that God loves you? You might simply want to be kind to somebody who’s having a rough day. You might simply want to offer somebody a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or an ear. Simply being available to God, simply letting them know, in a sense, that you love them is one of the ways in which we can testify to God’s love for us.

We invite you to share your reflection here >

31 Comments

  1. Peter E. Shanaghan on 04/01/2018 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you, Brothers, for this great series of reflections. I have always loved the Gospel of John and your series has deepened my understanding and given new life and urgency to the message of this Gospel. I thank you for helping me to see possibilities for my own witness to God’s love in my life and to how I can grow in my knowledge of and relationship with Jesus. I wish you all a joyous and Blessed Easter – Let us with grateful hearts proclaim “He is risen!.”



  2. Carol Langley on 03/30/2018 at 6:23 pm

    An outstanding series. The best Lenten series ever offered by our diocese. Meaningful, meaty, moving. Thank you.



  3. Jaan Sass on 03/28/2018 at 5:22 am

    My faith has been enriched with these meditations. I have found that when confronted with someone who is different or iritating or causing trouble to begin by sharing and listening. talking about what matters to them and allow the conversation to go where it may. A teacher in a computer class was very anti christian because of the wounds is domineering Pastor father had given him and his recent loss of his legs due a another driver who was not paying attention and rolled over him and his motorcycle. Being his friend and listening did not necessarily stop his comments but he told me you are the only authentic christian I have ever known. I did not do anything special I was just a friend . Maybe that’s what St, Francis is talking about when he says Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words. I’m not good at being authentic and I need practice to be honest with myself and so i can be honest to others. Angry people are broken just like us and do want to hear words they want to be acknowledged and in some cases want to truth.



  4. Mary on 03/27/2018 at 4:18 am

    “Meeting Jesus in John” has been a wonderful adventure for me, clearing the path to a deeper knowledge of God’s love for me and all people, my love for God, and giving me renewed desire and tools to bring God’s love to all with whom I come in contact.
    My very sincere thanks to each one who prepared or participated in this journey of blessing .



  5. Teresa on 03/26/2018 at 7:58 pm

    Thank you for this series that was so uplifting and humbling.
    Usually I hurry through my day, never speaking of my faith with anyone other than with those with whom I am comfortable think and believe similarly to me.
    Lately I have made a point of saying to people who are having a tough time,”I’ll pray for you” or that I’ll pray for their loved one or situation.
    Several have looked startled. Obviously it is a surprise that I pray or that I would tell them I pray. This is a rather sad testimony to my Christianity so far in my life.
    To a person, all have thanked me. None have rebuffed, ridiculed or tried to make me feel small. I think it is because the offer of a prayer is very non-threatening and supportive. I pray that it is also opening a gate to allow the other person to seek me out for prayer or sharing at another time, if it is the Lord’s will that they do so. Or that it is a reminder that prayer is an option open to everyone and they can seek God’s goodness and mercy for themselves in ways I will never know.
    This series has emboldened me to draw on our Lord constantly and not relegate my devotion to morning or evening prayer and meditation time.
    Thank you so much.



  6. David John Drew on 03/25/2018 at 9:24 am

    O Lord God,

    In the past forty days, I have opened myself up to you, and you have weighed and measured my soul, nothing is hidden from your perception. You have patiently listened to all my prayers, considered all my thoughts and actions. Now it is time for me to listen and follow you – in all that you desire for my good and for others. I confidently pray that you will give me the inner strength and resolve to be an evangelist to your glory in all that I will do in the future.

    Lastly, I thank all the Brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist for providing this amazing opportunity to learn and grow in Christ and in love. I am grateful to all those who participated in the program, that gave such profound and thoughtful insights. I pray that we will all continue to progress in our faith and enrich the world through our love and compassion.

    + Amen

    Pax – David



    • Suzanne Crawford on 03/30/2018 at 3:39 pm

      Like the other readers, I too have enjoyed reading the meditations from the brothers and the comments from the others. I like the brevity of the meditations. They were focused and intentional, very much to the point. For me as a reader when the selection is brief it seems the material is more intense, making me the reader drawn into the message and then able to reflect on the meaning as it applies to my life.

      Thank you. May this Good Friday offer meditation and prayer to all.

      Peace be with you.

      Suzanne



  7. Kathy Kozlowski on 03/25/2018 at 1:34 am

    Thank you for this wonderful study series. I find it uplifting to be reminded that we are testifying by being there, trying to live out the fruits of the spirit, listening and loving. So that others may have life more abundantly.
    Sometimes I still long to have the words. Not to clobber them with my Christian beliefs and dogmas but to share the joy. How does one express the inexpressible?
    Thank you, brothers.



  8. Samuel V Tallman on 03/24/2018 at 11:14 pm

    This has been spectacular in enriching my Lenten observance plus receiving an intimate acquaintance with all you brothers in seeing you thru these videos. I am so thankful for your decade-long embrace of all forms of media for your ministry. The Church is blessed!



  9. Bryan Cook on 03/24/2018 at 6:15 pm

    I will continue to draw on my Faith in God to support me as I care for my troubled partner and my chronically ill daughter; I will play music to waken the spirit and memories of those afflicted with Altzheimer’s and those fighting to be free of their addictions; I will strive for a peaceful and sustainable husbandry of God’s garden using plowshares beaten from swords; and I will pray that He will grant me the strength , time and opportunities to do His Will. Amen



  10. Annette Bates on 03/24/2018 at 2:51 am

    What a blessing this series has been in my life. Thank you!



  11. Jane Fraleigh on 03/23/2018 at 10:51 pm

    I’m trying to be non-judgmental and treat everyone as a child of God.



  12. MP on 03/23/2018 at 10:27 pm

    How do you do it if you yourself have not knowing felt God’s Love or anybody else’s for that matter. Feeling is not always there, how would this good Samaritan act be seen in 21 century, where is our Loving God in this era of a crazy Trump and a deeply desturbed World.



  13. Michelle on 03/23/2018 at 10:09 pm

    I’m thankful and greatly appreciative for the Brother’s daily meditations and written transcripts. As I can re- read them for further reflection and ponder on the daily readings. I also like the comments from other participants which often reflect my own thoughts. Blessings to all as we encounter Jesus on our daily walk.



  14. John G. on 03/23/2018 at 9:18 pm

    There’s a new person at church who wants to reclaim their heritage but does things that upset and offend others. They have also offended me because they don’t respect the ways and customs of our parish. That can be a good thing at times but not as a constant irritant. I have been wondering how to help this person. I don’t think they will accept it if I confront them with their behavior. That hasn’t worked well with me when I’ve put myself in a similar position. I think it was most helpful to me when I felt on the outs with people to talk to a non judgmental friend or even just to sit in the presence of a friend knowing that I could trust them not to reject me. I will pray to be a Jesus friend to this person.



  15. Linda Belton on 03/23/2018 at 8:33 pm

    This Lenten series has brought more understanding and serious reflection to my relationship with God. Thank you Brothers for the meditations. I pray for more patience in my interactions with others. I want my actions and my words to be my testimony of my Christian faith. Lord, help me to be a active participant in the Jesus Movement. Amen



  16. James D on 03/23/2018 at 8:17 pm

    The fruit of the Spirit; Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the traits I will attempt to exhibit each day to reach others for God. If I live by these attributes everyday, it will be impossible for others not to recognize Jesus in me. Are these words and actions hard to demonstrate? You bet they are, but it will become easier as we put them into action in all our dealings with others. No one, not even a hardcore atheist or agnostic can object to being treated in this manner. Thank-you Lord for your perfect way to demonstrate Your presence.



  17. Sylvia Robinson Corrigan on 03/23/2018 at 7:22 pm

    As a woman, I have found this story of an encounter with Jesus deeply meaningful. Jesus knew and understood her life, her experience, but I think what made her to be so thrilled about his telling it back to her, was that he had engaged her trust. Here is a woman out in the hot noonday sun, going to the well for water – and it may have been a bit risky for a woman to go out in the middle of the day alone to do so. Jesus sits with her and asks for a drink of water – unusual for a man perhaps to sit by a woman and ask for a cup of water. The sense of it is that his trust – implicit and real – made her able to receive the worded mirror of her experience, along with the promise of the living water that “gushes up to eternal life.”
    I believe it is out of that trust that she asked to receive the living water: this gave her the energy and enthusiasm to share God’s promise. May it be so for all believers!



  18. Margaret Dungan on 03/23/2018 at 7:09 pm

    I am so grateful for all these Meditations from the Brothers,I feel so enriched in my faith by them I can’t remember
    a Lenten Program that has been as soul searching as this one Thank you.
    May you all be truly Blessed this Holy Week and Easter.

    Margaret Dungan.



    • CHRISTINA MCKERROW on 03/24/2018 at 4:13 pm

      Dear Margaret: my soul mate
      I too have found the series to be blessed and wonderful. Thank you to all the brothers who contributed; thank you also to all those who have put all those weeks of work out there for us. We have all been blessed
      Christina



  19. James Rowland on 03/23/2018 at 7:05 pm

    OK. So what am I doing today. See to my partner who isn’t feeling well and if ok then Friday Tai Chi. Then my Lectio group then grocery shopping, home and if partner feeling well supper out at a cafeteria followed by coffee shop group which meets every Friday evening for support. A lot of chances to connect. I can’t help but pray, “Holy Spirit, be with us”.



  20. Jack Zamboni on 03/23/2018 at 6:15 pm

    I will be testifying to God’s love for me — and for all God’s children — when I join in the March for our Lives against gun violence tomorrow.



  21. Rhode on 03/23/2018 at 5:54 pm

    What is my purpose as a follower of Jesus? What Jesus did at the Samaritan well was so counter to his culture. He spoke to an unaccompanied woman. He blurted out personal facts of her life confronting her with the offensive truth of her behaviour. He offered her a better substitute for the life she was living. He offered her a glimpse at the authority of His Holiness regardless of the fact Jews thought Samaritans unclean heretics at best. He then offered to stay and speak to her village …probably not what his disciples wanted to do. Truly, Jesus’s love was powered by Authority as the Son of God to confront a lost sheep and bring them into the fold. So, perhaps we are too timid and too polite for that but what the woman did afterwards is what we can do as people who have accepted brother and sisterhood with Christ… tell others “there is a man I have met who has told me everything I have ever done”. The world is looking for the real Jesus and if all we to offer at the well is the same coffee and a smile they give to us we need to reread the gospels.



  22. Gail Holland on 03/23/2018 at 5:36 pm

    Jesus didn’t judge or patronize the Samaritan woman either, or hang a label around her neck. One of the hardest things we are called to do as Christians is to “judge not”. We are most blessed in this because we are not equipped to judge anyone (except perhaps ourselves, but I’m not even certain of that). If you can suspend judgment and just see the hurting, broken person in front of you who is loved unconditionally by God, you have received an invaluable gift.



  23. Bobbi on 03/23/2018 at 4:55 pm

    Br. James, your words encourage me to speak about God’s love when I reach out to someone. In doing an act of kindness, I get the credit. On the other hand, in proclaiming my faith about it, God gets the credit, and THAT is very humbling. It is time for me to testify that it is God’s love that is behind what I do to help others.



  24. Margaret Masui-Lyon on 03/23/2018 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for the Lenten Bible study. I looked forward to the daily video talks from the Brothers and the verses to meditate on.
    I belong to a small Mission English speaking congregation in Belgium, part of All Saints Waterloo, Belgium and have been able to share some of your thoughts with others.
    Thank you.



  25. Marjorie L. Hascall on 03/23/2018 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you for the rather challenging Lenten undertaking. I have utilized both the transcript and the ttext in the journal to consider and write my reflection. It was a challenge at times but I managed to look within myself for a reflection. Also my parish St. Paul’s Concord, NH offered a Suunday discussion group, I am now looking forward to the return of the daily e-mails from you. Thanks again for all your efforts.
    Marjorie L. Hascall



  26. Nancy on 03/23/2018 at 4:05 pm

    I’ve spent the night at the bedside of a dear friend who is gravely ill, in unrelenting pain, and who appointed me to speak for him now that he can’t speak for himself. God loves this man, and He loves me as well. I call upon God’s love and give thanks for His love, I pray for relief for Don, for his medical providers, and for right decisions



  27. Agatha Nolen on 03/23/2018 at 3:51 pm

    Br. James asks us how we can offer those around us our testimony that we love them. He offers some simple but profound suggestions: giving them a word of encouragement when they need it, offering them a cup of coffee or tea, or just being present to listen and spend time with them.

    I often feel like my contributions to the kingdom are too small when others around me do enormously great things. I’ve never started a non-profit organization or an orphanage. But I do see God’s people every day, and I can show them His love.



  28. Keith Aldred on 03/23/2018 at 3:12 pm

    Help us to love others and commit them to your care. Give us the courage and the patience we need to do that Lord.



  29. John David Spangler on 03/23/2018 at 2:47 pm

    “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” (Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.) Reading Brother James’ s meditation brought this quotation immediately to mind. Brother James posed this question and offered some suggestions: “How will the people at work know that God loves you? You might simply want to be kind to somebody who’s having a rough day. You might simply want to offer somebody a cup of coffee or a cup of tea or an ear. Simply being available to God, simply letting them know, in a sense, that you love them is one of the ways in which we can testify to God’s love for us.”. Many years ago, I tried that and my, if you will, good deeds were recognized and acknowledged; however, my colleague expressed utter surprise when she learned that I was a practicing Christian; my actions were not seen as testimony of God’s love. Confused and disjheartened, I try to “keep pluggin’ away”.