The Saint John’s Bible Series

Linking sacred art with spiritual imagination

Tuesday evenings in June
via Zoom video conferencing

The series is free. You must register to receive the Zoom invitation. Click here to register

The Rev. Jim Strader-Sasser, Priest-in-Charge at Christ Memorial Episcopal Church in Danville, PA and The Rev. Dr. Howell Sasser, Rector at St. Thomas in Newark Delaware, will be presenting a five-session liturgical and contemplative online series through the Gospel of John using the illuminated text from The Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible.

In this well-timed series, the Scriptures will be opened to us in a new way as we continue our journey toward God in confusing times. The goal of the sessions is to offer participants a fully sensory and contemplative encounter with The Gospel of John. Together we will explore the themes of the Incarnation, the identities of Jesus, God’s desire to offer re-birth and new life, and Mary’s encounter with the risen Christ. We will further open our senses to carefully paired music as we contemplate the exquisite images and calligraphy of this handcrafted rare volume, referred to as “America’s Book of Kells.”

The Saint John’s Bible is a singular achievement: the complete text of the Bible, written on calfskin vellum using traditional tools and inks. As a work of sacred art, it ignites the spiritual imagination of all those who view its pages. It stands alone. However, the beauty, richness, and inspiration of The Saint John’s Bible are not limited to those able to see the original pages in a museum setting.

Because of the Heritage Edition, a masterpiece in its own right, people around the world can experience The Saint John’s Bible. Limited to 299 seven-volume sets, the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible is true to the scale, beauty, and artistic intent of the original manuscript. Let these magnificent volumes inspire you and your community.

Click here to learn more about the Heritage Edition.

Registrants will receive the Zoom link via email on Monday, June 1st. The link will be a recurring meeting in Zoom and can be used for all Tuesday night sessions.

Click here to register for the series.

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Photo by Michael Freeman, Michael Freeman Photography, London, UK

June 2nd, 7 PM via Zoom

From Inspiration to Illumination

An Introduction to The Saint John’s Bible with Tim Ternes

Tim Ternes, Director of The Saint John’s Bible at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in Collegeville, Minnesota, worked closely with the artistic team in the creation of the original works and facilitated planning and communication between artists and commissioner. This gives him extensive behind-the-scenes knowledge and great stories about all aspects of the project.

Tim will introduce guests to the story behind the making of The Saint John’s Bible, and explore the tools, methods, and materials used in the creating the Bible’s original folios. You will be encouraged to stretch your own spiritual imagination as you and Tim explore several illuminations from the project.

Word Made Flesh, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

June 9th, 7 PM via Zoom

The Word became Flesh (John 1: 1-14)

This chapter introduces foundational principles and values for The Saint John’s Bible Series and our study of The Gospel according to John. Participants will receive a brief overview of The Saint John’s Bible’s creative process and development.  The “sensus” elements will focus in on The Incarnation and its meaning for us in these extraordinary times.

The lectio portion offers 3 hearings (from different voices) the scripture from John 1.  The subsequent visio segment offers mean for the illumination thickens a participant’s experience of the text.

The text and illumination will then be brought together for deeper reflection and discussion How are people of faith and seekers encountering the Divine in unknown, known, and believable ways?

I Am Sayings, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

June 16th, 7 PM via Zoom

I Am___. (John 6:35, John 8:12, John 10:9, John 10:11, John 11:25, John 14:6, and John 15:1)

This chapter offers participants opportunities to contemplate and discern the unique and provocative statements Jesus claims regarding his Divinity in the Johannine Gospel. Jim will describe three of The Saint John’s Bible’s Values:

~ Spark the Spiritual Imagination of People of Faith and Seekers
~ Glorify God’s Word
~ Revive the tradition of communal scriptural study and “appreciation of artistic, spiritual, and scholarly pursuits.” (The Saint John’s Bible, 2020)

The conversation will then become a Lectio Divina of Jesus’ Seven I Am Statements. The visio for this session will be Thomas Ingmire’s associated illumination. Together the illumination with the statements open avenues into understand Christ’s presence today as The Way, The Shephard, The Gate, The Bread of Life, The Door, The Light of The World, The True Vine, and The Resurrection. Do contemporary interpretations differ from earlier understandings? How do Christians understand these statements similarly to the early Johannine community? Musical offerings should focus on Jesus Christ’s divinity.

Raising of Lazarus, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

June 23rd, 7 PM via Zoom

Raising Lazarus (John 11: 38-44)

Our third session focuses on God’s intervening desire to offer re-birth and new life. Another primary theme for this session is a brief overview of Benedictine principles and practices.

Participants will read, hear, and otherwise sense the essence of  being “born again.”  Jim will offer his observations regarding the Benedictine themes of hospitality, transformation, and justice for God’s people.

The homilist will emphasize Jesus’ relationship with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha as such love sheds light into a relational Johannine understand of living as a beloved community. The illumination offers a vision of the contrast between light and dark – death and life. This periscope offers us the most profound expressions of Jesus Christ’s humanity and divinity.

How do we experience such Divine and Human presence as people we love die? How are we who live on this side of Lazarus’ and Jesus’ tombs interpret being revived and unbound from our mortality in these confusing times? Musical selections should focus on empathy, and/or hospitality, and relationality with Christ.

Resurrection, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

June 30th, 7 PM via Zoom

Mary encounters The Risen Christ (John 20: 11-18)

This final session explores the wonder we all experience when we encounter God on the threshold of despair and disbelief. How does God show up in ways that we can neither fathom or hold onto in typical fashion. Donald Jackson’s Resurrection Illumination depicts The Divine’s presence in a singular way. Mary Magdalene’s character is also unique. Jackson’s lifetime dream was to create an illuminated Bible for our time and with our pluralistic understandings of the Biblical text. Jim considers Jackson’s purpose for undertaking such a monumental task – against all odds.

The divinas portion of this session will consider likewise how Mary Magdalene and we courageously serve Christ in her and our own lives. This is one of Christianity’s most touching moments. It would be magnificent to share with one another our most “Easter-tide moments.” Music should be uplifting, thankful and joyous.


Registrants will receive the Zoom link via email on Monday, June 1st. The link will be a recurring meeting in Zoom and can be used for all Tuesday night sessions.

Click here to register for the series.