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

As you wash your hands, incessantly, pray for cleansing from any point of infection, and also pray for an inner cleansing from any fear, any prejudice, any presumption that the viral threat has exposed in your soul. Pray also for those who continue to work on our behalf, and at heightened risk, to make our lives possible. Pray they be washed from any contagion.


In this video, The Rev. Becky Zartman is in conversation with Brs. Jonathan Maury, Keith Nelson, James Koester and Lucas Hall to discuss Water.

Questions for Meditation

At the end of the service of Compline, one Brother sprinkles the gathered community with holy water, praying for “a peaceful night and a perfect end.” This ritual reminds us of our mortality. How might you hand your own life back to God at the end of each day?

Surrendering to the water of baptism allows for us to be reborn by the Holy Spirit into the new life of God. How are you adrift? What keeps you afloat?


  • This week, when you wash your hands, notice the water, really feel the water as it flows over your hands.

Facilitator Support

The learning goals for Water are:

  • Connecting the sign of water to personal spirituality or experience
  • Understanding how water 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 water

Water: Small Group Guide

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

Water: Forum Curriculum

Preparation and guidance for using Water in a forum setting.

Downloads and Print outs

Quick links to PDFs for downloading and printing.

Practices to go deeper

Water: Facebook Live

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Water: Saturday

Watch the video on Light.
More explanation…
Practical aThe baptismal mystery is that we are continuously dying to the old self and rising to the new creation. That incorporation by water and the Spirit has everything to do with the air we breathe and the water that sustains us. …

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Water: Friday

In living out our Christian journey, we all know from experience that this is not one moment of progress and glory, followed by another moment of progress and glory, into the triumph of Christ’s risen life. We know from our hard experience that grace is costly, and there are many moments that call us to die. Baptism is not a once and for all transaction. It is a lifelong covenant that is expressed afresh in so many moments in life, that seemingly have nothing to do with God or church on the surface.

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Water: Thursday

In the 1959 Canadian Prayer Book, the Catechism starts, “What is your name? Who gave you this name?” And the answer is, “My godparents, when I was baptized, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.” And, that is a Christian’s identity. If that’s the only thing somebody remembers, they’ve got their Christian life.

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Water: Wednesday

The risen life of Jesus Christ is so available to us afresh in every moment of our life – just there – as this endlessly unfolding potential. But living it out, claiming it, actually weaving it into the fabric of our life, requires us to go down into the waters of our baptism over and over and over again.

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Water: Tuesday

When we bless water for baptism, we tell the story of how water has become to us a sign of life. We remember that in the beginning, the Holy Spirit moved over the waters. We remember that through water God led the children of Israel out of bondage into freedom. We remember that through water Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan, and in our own baptism, we move from the bondage of sin and death into the freedom of resurrection and everlasting life.

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Water: Monday

A lot of people try to make God domestic. God becomes the “Hail Mary, full of grace, help me find a parking space” God. But this means missing the absolutely unfathomable power of God, like you can see at Niagara Falls. That’s what water can teach us about God: you can’t bottle God.

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Water: Video

Baptism is our birth into the church as a whole, and we enter these baptismal waters again when we physically enter the worship space. When I begin to enter the chapel and put my fingers in the holy water stoop, then make the sign of the cross, I have this experience of going through the veil. It’s an experience of entering into the baptismal waters of death and birth; saying that the preoccupations, worries, thoughts, and feelings that might be a distraction are dying in this entrance into God’s time, into the time of prayer and worship, and in this entrance into the Christian community.

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On Water

From a conversation with Br. Lucas Hall, SSJE On my first inquirer’s visit to the monastery, when I was not at all sure that I wanted to do this, I asked each of the Brothers, “Why are you here?” One of the Brothers responded immediately that his vocation as a monk was closely linked to…

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Water: Homily

Baptism is learning how to float. Baptism is a sacrament of surrender, the sacramental act of letting go of fear and control, making friends with the unknown, and beginning to trust that God will sustain you, even in the midst of chaos and death.

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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.