Archive for February, 2010

“Trusting God”

February 24, 2010

Lk. 11:29-32 “On judgment day the people of Nineveh will stand up and accuse you, because they tunred from their sins when they heard Jonal preach and I assure you that there is something there greater then Jonah.”

We keep wanting proof that God exists, that Jesus is the Son of God, that life is meant for something great.  The reality is there is no logical proof of any of that.  The reality is that for me my faith is based on my experience of God in my life.  I look back and I know that there has been and is  a force that guides my life, that has protected me, and set me in the right direction.  And I look at the lives of those holy ones who have gone before us and who are present still and see God. And in my darkest moments, in those moments when I have such fear, and when i dcubt I hold on to my faith and it sustains me, gives meaning to my life, and hope for the life to come.  Knowing God is about faith, and faith is believing, even when you do not believe. I have spent the night serving the meal in the Castro, doing outreach on Haight and on Polk. It is wet, but the joy in people’s eyes when I gave them food, blankets, and my time brought  joy to me. I spent time with 23 year old Walter tonight and heard him share his story, about drugs and his life.  And ultimately I know that I trust God and leave it in his hands. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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“Be Silent”

February 23, 2010

Polycarp: Matt. 6:7-8-“When you are praying, do not heap phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” The best prayer is to be silent.  Jesus own prayer hints at what feeds prayer–an attitude of praising God, desiring the reign of love, peace, and justice to come on earth, trying to unite our desires with the desires of God for us and for the world, and to rest in our efforts to forgive others. I was in the Haight last night doing outreach.  The young one’s were happy just to receive some food and socks and blanket, planning their next trip or just hanging out. I come back to Polk and I see the result of age.  People struggling, demanding more, really a darkness of failure and foreboding.  I have people who come down trying to “help” people, trying to get them to “change”, not understanding that many of these guys began this journey years ago, and as the years past they wind up in a position where it is difficult, if not impossible to change their way of life, and for many the middle class way of life is not what they want.  The other point with people who have so much is they live in an environment in which they have so much, not understanding this is not the standard way of life in most of the world or even in this one–they have a guilt that goes with having money and comfort.   For me it is the sin we all have to deal with in the Spiritual Excercises–the sin of being selfish. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Who Do You Say That I Am?”

February 22, 2010

Mt. 16:13-19 ‘And Who Do You Say That I Am?”  Coming to know who Jesus is for us is the central task of the Chrisitian life.  Once Jesus is everything to us–the very beginning and end of everything we do–nothing else can harm us. For me this is the journey I am on–coming to know Jesus and serving him in the way he calls me to. It is like last night I had dinner with a friend who was upset because a singer said that “Jesus was gay”.  He is a fraid it will stirr up the homophobes, he was really upset. To me things like that are not even issues. I know Jesus as the One who loves me, walks with me, leads me in this life, and supports me.  I in turn try to do the same.  For me it is not an issue of how others perceived Jesus–it is how I have experienced him and experience him.  My whole life’s journey is coming to know Jesus, and give my life totally to him.  I am going to the Haight to night to do outreach and back to Polk.   Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Who We Become”

February 21, 2010

Lk. 5:27-32:  “Jesus noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax office, he said to him, “Follow me.””  It is who we become in the deepest part of us, not who we are on the outside–meaning our connections–our race, our gender, our religion–that counts in the end.  It is the one in whom Jesus most clearly sees himself who will be wrapped in the saving love of God.  I look back at my life and I see what I was as a young minister and it makes me sick to to my stomach–greedy for money, power, recognition–and I find myself seeing myself now–an outsider, often ridiculed, not liked by many, scare many pastors to death–and you know I like this person a hell of a lot more–for I am moving in the presence of Jesus.  I see Jesus in the lives of the people I serve, slowly, but always present he is there.   As I moved on the streets tonight I spent time with one after another–two are alcoholics, always drunk, and then 25 year old John a junkie and we talked and joked back and forth and I found Christ in the midst of us.  This is what Jesus did with Levi. As I moving into the Spiritual Exercises I am seeing my growth and my maturity in my ministry–in seeing Jesus in the midst of us. I am seeing as well how we have been given our nature around us as a gift and how we violate it-nature and we are meant to live in harmony–and yet we violate it for our own profit and in the process destroy it and so destroy ourselves. For me it is living in the moment, in the present–Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Fasting”

February 19, 2010

Is. 58:1-9:. . .Fast by sharing your food with the hungry, bring to your house the homeless, clothe the one you see naked. .Matt. 9:14-15 “The followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus asking , “Why is it that we  and the Pharacees fast often but your disciples don’t fast at all.”

The purpose of following God is not to make life miserable. It is to teach us to live life well, to enable us to respond to every different moment in ways proper to that moment: often with joy, sometimes with renewed commitment bot begin again to live life as God means us to live it. There is always joy and pain in every relationship. Last night we had a man who was drunk who made life miserable, there was not much joy, but in that pain we still proclaimed the gospel in the giving of food and our presence.  We need to stay in the moment–to live in the moment, and in so doing we experience more joy then pain, and life is very precious and enjoyable.  When we dwell on what can be, we find ourselves frustrated, but the joy from living in the moment, for that is all that we have is the most blessed.  Jesus lived in the moment, he found joy and he found sadness, but most importantly he found God. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

“Losing Your Life”

February 18, 2010

Lk. 9:22-25: “If you lose your life for my sake, you will save it.” To follow Jesus, costs.  It means to see life differently then others do, to live life differently then most, to be regarded with misgiving by many.  But in the end life will be lived with the entire cosmos. St. Ignatius tells us in his Exercises to live our lives “indifferently”–with single mindedness–to let our fears of security, illness not get in the way following the call of Jesus.  It means to let go and trust completely in God. I have found that when I let go and let God be number one my life flows. I have been told I am single minded, and I am, I let very little get in the way of the work to which I have been called. I struggle all the time with fears of economic insecurity, physical health–and that gets in the way–until I let go and then it all flows towards God. That is my what I strive to do–to trust completely in God and be indifferent.  I spent the day in Vallejo, had Ash Wednesday services, came home and did outreach.  As I walked the streets tonight one after another was high, some simply just worn out–in their blankets, sitting and waiting.  I can think of no higher calling then to serve them. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Lent”

February 17, 2010

We enter the season of Lent.  The Ash Wednesday Gospel sets the tone: “And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.” Lent is a time of introspection, a time of looking inward at our own spiritual life.  The spiritual life is meant to be an adventure between the soul and God.  It is a journey in which you come face to face with God, come to know God as a being who loves you and walks with you.  It is a journey in which your faith is an awareness that the life and energy and power of God is with us in darkness as well as light.  It is not the notion that God is a magic act meant to shape life in our likeness.. Lent is a time in which an act of spirituality is not played out in front of the world in order to impress the world.  It is an act of spirituality in which we open ourselves to God in all of our weakness–that we are absolutely vulnerable, and that God sees us in all of  our fragility.   For you see this is the deepest relationship in our lives, the one on which the very meaning of life depends.  It is about life in the present moment.  I talk to people all the time who wander through life, without much meaning.  And so it is that Lent allows us to meet the One who transcends and transforms our lives and gives them meaning in each moment. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Every Generous Act of Giving”

February 16, 2010

“Every Generous Act of Giving” James 1:16-18: . . .“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. . .” I went to bed last night at 10:00 p.m. totally exhausted. I had given all of my energy to helping Dustin.  I will spend today cooking and feeding people,  and tonight will go to bed totally exhausted. For me the exhaustion is the reward of giving my life away without expecting anything in return.  It is in the giving that we truly receive. There is a man who is sixty six has a hard time with me in my “living in the moment”. He is always planning, worrying about his finances, the future–none of which he can do very little about.  For me it is in the moment that life is, and future flows from that moment.  I do not know what the future is, accept that I am in God’s hands regardless, but in living in the moment I am preparing for that future.  The older I get the mored I see that it is in the giving that one finds Jesus, and in the giving one finds ones self. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

“Faith Is An Awareness of God”

February 16, 2010

“Faith Is An Awareness of God”  Mk. 8:11-13: Faith is the awareness that the life and energy and power of God is with us in darkness as well as in light. It is not the notion that God is a magic act meant to shape life to our likeness. I spent the day with Dustin helping him get his computer, futon, and work on his finances.  He complains a lot about his situation and why God does not do more for him, and I remind him that God has nothing to do with how much money we have,  or how well we do, and that some things are just a given, that we have nothing to do with, and that somethings are a result of our choices, but that in the darkness  and the light God is with us.  He is not a magic act who will shape our lives, but we shape our lives and he works with us if we allow him, but that she is always with us. Faith is the awareness that no matter what God is with us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!”

“The Agony and the Ecstasy”

February 14, 2010

Luke 9:28-36:  “The Transfiguration”:  Jesus comes to the mountain to pray with Peter, James, and John–Jesus is transfigured–a symbol and a reminder that as we enter the journey of life following Christ there will be tough and difficult times a head–and ultimately we will face our own mortality, our own death, and Jesus stands on the Mt. of Transfiguration reminding us of the hope to come.  It is both the agony and the ecstasy.  I have worked on the streets for nearly 16 years and have seen nearly a thousand deaths of people younger then 27 and see lives that never change—their journeys are dark, dismal, and for me the hope comes in the Transfiguration and the promise of the resurrection.  In the agony we find the ecstasy, in the agony we find hope. The Transfiguration holds for us the hope of life beyond death.  We live in a time of ignoring death–we have products that removes our wrinkles,  makes us look younger, and are told that seventy is the new forty, but the reality is that we will die.  The transfiguration holds the hope of life beyond death.  Our lives are filled with moments of transfigurations, as they are with the moments of curcifixions. For in the agony of death is the ecstasy of the the resurrection.  And in this hope that we walk with Jesus on the journey bringing justice in all areas of life. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!