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“Signs of Life” as we experience the Coronavirus outbreak.

Health care workers – paramedics, nurses, physicians, researchers, and support staff – are working so heroically to diagnose and treat the Coronavirus and to develop a vaccine. Pray that they have insight to make accurate diagnoses and treatments, that the eyes of their hearts be enlightened with wisdom, and that God’s irradiating light protect them.

In this video, The Rev. Becky Zartman is in conversation with Brs. Curtis Almquist, Jim Woodrum, Keith Nelson and Geoffrey Tristram to discuss Light.

Questions for Meditation:

At the beginning of the Great Easter Vigil, we literally share the Light of Christ, as we light one another’s candles from the newly kindled flame. How do we live out this liturgical moment in our daily lives?

Our souls, like the sky, know times of darkness as well as light. Where is the light in your life? 


  • This week, pay attention to light as you move through your day, especially at the beginning and the close of each day.

Facilitator Support

The learning goals for Light are:

  • Connecting the sign of light to personal spirituality or experience
  • Understanding how light plays a role in Christian worship and community life
  • Learning a new contemplative practice that can help participants connect more deeply to the sign of light

Light: Small Group Guide

A detailed outline for leading a Small Group on Light, with notes, questions and tips on set up.

Downloads and Print outs

Quick links to PDFs for downloading and printing.

Light: Forum Curriculum

Preparation and guidance for using Light in a forum setting.

Practices to go deeper

Light: Facebook Live

Listen back to a conversation between Br Jim and the Rev. Becky.

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Light: Saturday

There’s an innate craving to be safe in the darkness. It has an enwombing quality about it. So I love to pray in our chapel when there’s just the whisper of light coming from a votive candle. It’s a very safe, nurturing space. Most of us choose to sleep in the dark, and that’s full of meaning: it’s how we began our life in our mother’s womb, and it’s how we restore our life, day by day.

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Light: Friday

Don’t worry when you’re in a place of darkness. God is there as well. There’s nowhere God is not. In fact, we can experience profound times of spiritual growth in times of darkness.

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Light: Thursday

When I was in the seminary, I had the chance to attend the Easter Vigil at Canterbury Cathedral. First they light a bonfire. Then the most amazing thing happens: everybody takes a candle, and we all enter with our candles, one by one, into this huge, cavernous, pitch-black space, until every candle is lit and you can see the whole place illuminated by this warm glow that reaches all the way to the ceiling. “Oh,” I thought, “this is it. This is what it means.”

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Light: Wednesday

There’s something I find incredibly reassuring about how God separates light from darkness. Orchestrating it all with infinite possibilities, God decides to create a cadence of light and darkness to fill each day. It’s true about the soul, too: we can only bear so much light. If there’s too much light coming at us, we’re blinded. Light can be as blinding as darkness.

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Light: Tuesday

One of the things I love about Saint John’s Gospel is how it is shot through with a dialectic between darkness and light. From the beginning of the Prologue, John makes it clear that the light shines in the darkness. Even though the darkness is there, light will always overcome that darkness.

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Light: Monday

After air, light is the dimension of our experience of the natural world that is the most intangible. It’s invisible, but without it we can’t see anything. It’s like God: God is invisible, but without God we can’t see anything or relate to anything. Without God, we have no being.

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Light: Video

Everything that I do in the chapel is actually an act of praise, thanksgiving, and adoration to God, who’s gazing at me. And I’m returning that gaze – wanting to return that gaze every moment I have because I’m so in love with Jesus.

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On Light

From a conversation with Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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Light: Homily

When we see by the light of Christ, everything that is close to us, things as simple and as vital as light and water and food and shelter and community – everything – is transformed into a vehicle of grace. These ordinary, existential, elemental pieces of life become imbued with the golden hue of love.

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Angels in the Architecture

“Why were these angelic figures everywhere? What were they trying to tell me?”

Br. Jim Woodrum follows the angels toward a deeper appreciation of why our church buildings matter and how they can help us to become one with the angels. This Monastic Wisdom refection accompanies and illuminates our Lent 2020 offering Signs of Life.

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Worship engages our deepest human needs and has the power to transform our lives. Join the Brothers of SSJE in exploring the signs and symbols at the heart of Christian worship.

This free 5-week offering encourages individuals and groups to explore the riches of our worship traditions, liturgy and sacraments, and the art and architecture of our worship spaces, revealing the full meaning of these signs, deepening our experience of Christian vocation and guiding us toward ongoing conversion.