Archive for February, 2012

A Sign

February 29, 2012

Lk. 11:29-32 

The “sign of Jonah” is simply the lived out Word of God.  Last night we fed 140 people, I spent time with fifteen talking and listening later in the night; tonight I will be doing out reach–that is the only “sign” God gives–the Word being lived out in our daily lives;  My friend Dana provided money for housing for a person yester–that is the sign of Jonah, the Word lived out. Mother Teresa summed it up:

Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others.
  – Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

Reflection on Mark 1:40-45 “I am A Leper”

February 28, 2012


A man with a skin disease

40 A man with a skin disease approached Jesus, fell to his knees, and begged, “ If you want, you can make me clean. ”

41 Incensed,b Jesus reached out his hand, touched him, and said, “ I do want to. Be clean. ” 42 Instantly, the skin disease left him, and he was clean. 43 Sternly, Jesus sent him away, 44 saying, “ Don’t say anything to anyone. Instead, go and show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifice for your cleansing that Moses commanded. This will be a testimony to them. ” 45 Instead, he went out and started talking freely and spreading the news so that Jesus wasn’t able to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, but people came to him from everywhere.


In lookling back at my life I have always been a “leper”  in the eyes of some people.  As a youth I was a “leper” many times because of my stand against racial inequality in my southern town; my libera views of the scripture, my acceptance of other religions; as a minister in the mainline church it was often the same way; then when I came out I was a leper because of my sexuality; now at times I am a leper in the queer community because of my faith, a leper because of the people I work with.  That is one of the reasons I have been able to embrace the people I work with, I understand what it means to be a leper.  When I tell people I was once a sex worker, the look in their eyes.  I have discovered that the embrace of Jesus cleanses each of us, makes us white as snow.

Retreat Reflection on Mark 1:35-39

February 28, 2012

35 Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. 36 Simon and those with him tracked him down. 37 When they found him, they told him, “ Everyone’s looking for you! ”

38 He replied, “ Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come. ” 39 He traveled throughout Galilee preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons.

People seemed puzzled when I tell them I am a priest, because I do not operate out of a church building.  I do not dress like a typical priest, and I do things–needle exchange, hand out food, prepare food–that typical priests do not do.  But I follow in the path of Jesus who travels preaching, for like St. Francis: told us to do: “preach the gospel, using as few as words as possible. That is what I do.


February 28, 2012

In  the Mark passage I see myself as Jesus often times surrounded by the demons–last night one man was so high and out of it screaming and I calmed him down; at other times I have been full of “demons”, all of us are possessed and all of us are called to Jesus; The Lord’s Prayer is a simple prayer–and it has all we need to ask of God, so simple. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Prayer and Service

February 27, 2012

Lev., 19:1-2, 11-18, Matt25:31-46 

Jesus and Scripture while grey on many things is pretty black and white about serving our neighbor–you love them, you take care of them period. That is the chief element of spirituality. And a quote I found expresses to me what prayer means:

A spiritually awake person would see everything as gift, even suffering. We deserve nothing and yet we so often act as though we deserve everything. Nothing should be taken for granted. We should say thank you every day to God and to each other for all that is provided for us. This is one reason why fasting is such an important spiritual discipline. Not just fasting from food, but also fasting from cars, shopping centres, the news – whatever we have an inordinate attachment to. Fasting can help re-kindle our gratitude for all that we have been given.
   – Glen Argan


February 26, 2012

Mark 1:12-15

Lent is a time of remembering those who live in the desert not of their own choosing, those have been deserted and forgotten—I see them, I touch them, I serve them everyday—in the Tenderloin and Haight—beaten down, drugged, worn out, lost, ragged, and homeless. They succumb to despair when they hear no alleluias. Lent is a time to clear those distractions that keep us from seeing the inhabitants of the real deserts of our day—in San Francisco, in Vallejo-and it should be a time for ascetic practices that deprive us of simply more then pleasure.  When St. Augustine preached about the traditional ascetic practices of almsgiving, the congregation applauded, and he responded with a  caution: “My brothers these plaudits are no more than the leaves of trees; what we are looking for is fruit!” Lent is a time to remember our own deserts, and hear God’s voice of grace tell us that he redeems us, and loves us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fasting–Giving of One’s Self

February 24, 2012

Isa. 58:1-9 Last night as I placed ashes on the forehead of many people at our meal I was struck how visibly they were “dust”, not covered up with make up, but broken people, fragile people, who would not feel welcome in any of the churches in the neighborhood, and todays scripture reminds us that fasting is not giving up, but giving of ourselves, giving up of our selves so that others may have.When we serve others we are “fasting” of ourselves in the truest sense. We see that our comfort does not matter and we become “hungry”, hungry to serve people.. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


February 23, 2012

Deut. 30: 15-20Lk. 9:22-25

“Look I have set before you life and what is good, and death and what is wrong. . .”

We make our choices, and through out my life I have learned that only in following the call I received as a young boy do I find life.  I have been called “mad”, “single minded”, but as a young kid I was called to ministry, and that call has taken many routes, but ultimately it is the same: the ministry of Word and Sacrament.  I will be cooking food today, and then serving it tonight, and that is sacramental–the giving of the Body and Blood of Christ,along with words of comfort, and love. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

The Desert

February 23, 2012

Ash Wednesday, Mt. 6:1-6, 16-18

A desert is a place that doesn’t give you anything; when you live their you have to exist on your inner resources. Tonight I will be placing ashes upon people who wish them and saying the words: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.” They truly live in the desert of physical need–I see Henry, John, Sean, and many more with their blankets in the doorways, I see them with only the clothes on their back, and the socks I give them. They have nothing. And so this Lent I remember I live in the desert day in and day out, and I remember I am dust and to dust I will be return. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Lenten Retreat Part I

February 22, 2012

1. Personal Reflection (Getting in Touch With Yourself Here and Now)
How has your life’s journey been lately?  (easy, bumpy, smooth, uphill, downhill, straight, crooked, shady, hot or dusty)
How closely have you been following Jesus lately?  (right alongside, lagging behind, or even rushing ahead? wandering off course? turning back, or even ignoring him?
In the past year what has Jesus been for you? (Christ, Son of God, healer, teacher etc)? Who is he for you right now? How has your perception of him changed lately?
What do you desire from this retreat? (pay attention to your deeper desires; be specific, but also be realistic in your expectations.
2. Reflective Meditation on Mark 1:15-15: Reflect deeply upon each word and each phrase of this text.  What is the “good news” that is being proclaimed by the Evangelist and by Jesus himself? In what ways is Jesus calling you to repent (turn) and/or to believe (trust)more deeply?
3. Imaginative Contemplation on Mark 1:9-11: Imagine yourself with John the Baptist and Jesus at the Jordan River. See the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus; hear the voice from heaven proclaim, “You are my beloved son.” How does hearing these words make you feel? How do you respond? Can you hear God’s voice saying also to you, “:You are my beloved son or daughter?’
4. Centering Prayer: Focus simply on the first verse of this Gospel (1:1, especially the terms Jesus, Christ, and Son of God. Breathe deeply and allow these names to enter your heart.
Do one or two of the prayer exercises, take 20 minutes and center in and meditate, and then write down your reflections, send them back for sharing if you like, This is a mediative retreat, and so simply take twent or thirty minutes each day alone and simply reflect upon our readings.
Please feel free to call me at 415-305-2124 at any time to talk if you like. river