Archive for December, 2016

Questions

December 31, 2016

 

PENIEL–NEWSLETTER OF TEMENOS CATHOLIC WORKER,  “

“Where Jacob Wrestled With God”

Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker, P.O. Box 642656, San Francisco, CA 94164, http://www.temenos.org, 415-305-2124

In Memory of Diane Sims

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Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

There was a young man who drew a picture of the cross surrounded by question marks. He was struggling with the contradictions in his life of being gay, a Christian, and not welcomed by friends or family, and ultimately he took his on life.

On Christmas Day I took some volunteers to serve food in the Haight.  On Tuesday as I was talking with one of the guys   he commented, “It must really drive you crazy being with all those “weird” people.” I laughed, just simply laughed, because he describes what we all feel in our different peer groups about  others–they are “weird”. Ministers and priests in their buildings, see me as weird, different races see each other as weird, different religions see each other as weird-when in reality we are united by our shared humanity.

And that describes my life, it is a life of contradictions, that have been  interwoven together with the scars that come from living in the midst of those contradictions–scars from much pain, but scars that have become a beautiful piece of wood that allows me to live within those contradictions.

I am a priest–clergy–who feels uncomfortable within a church building–because I was condemned, and pushed out because of being gay; yet God pulled me back kicking and screaming, for I have come to see that the Church is the body of Christ–and it is human beings in their weaknesses, their own pain that hurt others, not the living presence of Christ; I do not refuse to interact with any one because of what they believe, what they feel, because I believe we are all on the same journey, and it is in interacting that we grow.  People make their own choices.  They are free to choose, and I respect those choices. I listen to people, and in listening I see them find their path, not the one I choose for them.

My cousin Diane Sims, died yesterday, she was 59.  She was a life long Christian, taught Sunday school, attended church for most of her life. She struggled with alcoholism.  It was on her journey to sobriety that she came to understand that  she was a lesbian, and through coming out brought wholeness to her life. When she came out to her church (my former denomination) she was no longer welcome to teach Sunday school, even though she was welcome to attend- because “God loves us all, ” ( extreme and I mean extreme sarcasm).  Diane found her spiritual home in AA, and she lived a life of service. Like the young man who drew the picture with the “Questions” she faced those questions and in her struggle found wholeness and freedom.

Diane lived out the questions in her own life. She lived a life that witnessed to the wholeness of faith and witness. Diane did not want to die, she enjoyed life. Her life was a life of contradictions, and she witness to the wholeness within those contradictions.  I chose to live my contradictions with in the context of the Church, and found a place outside its walls, in which I can witness to the contradictions. I remember Diane today in praying the Office of the Dead and I remember her in every person I meet who is struggling with the questions and offer her as an example of one who lived within those contradictions, who lived out the questions of life to their fullest. She lived a life of joy and love. Diane chose life, and not death.

In this life of contradictions what holds me together is my faith in the living person of Jesus of Nazareth and this New Year my only resolve is to continue to follow him in his summons that “You shall love the Lord your God with your mind, strength and your soul, and your neighbor as yourself.”   Through out the epistle readings from the books of I/II/III John this last week we have heard that all God requires of us is to love. And in the following quote from Pema Chjodron we find a summary of my New Year’s resolution, and hopefully yours as well:

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

And I will continue as long as their is breath in my body to invite others to a relationship of compassion, in which we recognize our shared humanity.I am a person of contradictions like we all are–but the unifying factor for us all is that we are children of the one God.

Happy New Year! May God, The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you now and forever more. Amen. Dio Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Witness Against Torture: Fast for Justice

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 to Thursday, January 12, 2017
Ohio to Washington, DC

Go to Washington, DC to witness against torture and call for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison and an end to Islamophobia or you can write your representatives from home and pray for those in the Capitol.

We will participate in a liquid fast (as able) and join in direct actions, vigils and educational sessions around the topics of anti-militarism, nonviolence, anti-racism, anti-Islamophobia, and more.

Contact: Chrissy@irtfcleveland.org if you are coming to Washington D.C. for housing or to let her know you are fasting.

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RIP DIANE SIMS

FRIEND/COUSIN/ LESBIAN CHRISTIAN WARRIOR

1957-2016

May God’s Angels Carry You To Heaven~

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WE ARE BEGGARS: We depend upon your generosity to provide support for our pastoral care, food, socks, and harm reduction supplies.  In the words of John Wesley, “Earn as much as you can and give as much as you can.”

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

pay pal: http://www.temenos.org

Thank You!

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Poem by Jerry

Bolick:

“This Buddha sits with you

in the broken light

of pain-strewn streets

and slow-folded knees

that signal

unquestioned  presence—

throughout the darkness,

the voice of a friend”

 

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Walking A Mile in the Shoes of Another

December 28, 2016

WALKING A MILE IN THE SHOES OF ANOTHER PERSON

I John 1:5-2:2 Matthew 2:13-18 Feast of the Holy Innocents

Rabbi Manis Friedman tells us  that “When a poor man knocks at your door and says ‘I’m hungry,’, and your first thought is Why can’t you get a job? you’ve invaded his privacy.  Why would you need to know why he can’t get a job? He didn’t come to discuss his inabilities or bad habits; he came to discuss his hunger.  If you want to do something about it, feed him.”

The Holy Innocents of our society are the homeless, who are judged, ridiculed, studied.  They come to our door–they asked to be fed, housed, provided health care, and rather than judge and discuss we should provide for their needs.

The one thing I have learned in twenty two years of walking with people on the street is never to judge–each one is where he or she is for a reason, and those reasons are usually the result of a society that has not provided for them.  For example I would have been on the streets if I had not been a lucky sperm–who knows I may still wind up on the streets with the way rent is going–a lucky sperm who is a white male, a lucky sperm who had parents with money and provided him the best education money can buy, a lucky sperm who was loved and cherished from the day he was born, a lucky sperm who has always had medical insurance, and a lucky sperm who has encountered people who have loved him, and  cared for him when needed.  It is a matter frankly of just plain happen stance that we are where we are, with our privileges. Rather than judge another we should walk in the shoes of that person, and listen to them, and feel their pain. We should learn to keep our mouths shut, listen, just simply listen.

Eli KIhamarov tells us that “Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.”  Let us give a pardon for that crime in each person who we see and talk to who is poor and homeless. They are the Holy Innocents of our society today. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Sacramental Life

December 27, 2016

THE SACRAMENTAL LIFE

Acts 6:8-10;7:54-59; Matthew 10:17-22

The Feast of St. Stephen

St. Stephen is a witness to being faithful to the very end for the Gospel–for as a witness to the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He seems like an arrogant prick–but he was faithful to the end. Christ does not look for perfection-but for those who stand with him.He stands as a radiant witness.

Munchella said to Bruno: “Poverty is not a natural condition–it is man-made.”  We must change ourselves before there will be less poverty. And I can hardly handle changing myself.

But what I do know is a quote sent to me by a friend is true for me: “You can’t change the world–I understand that-but you  do this to keep the world from changing you”

And then there is another quote  from Pope Francis:

“Christmas is a charade!” Francis said last year.

 “Christmas is approaching: There will be lights, parties, lighted Christmas trees and manger scenes. … It’s all a charade.” . . .“The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path. There are wars today everywhere, and hate,” Francis said. “We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognize the path to peace. To weep for those who live for war and have the cynicism to deny it. God weeps; Jesus weeps.” 

These quotes were swirling around in my head as  I worked on thank you notes and reflected  on yesterday and how we are all basically human beings who struggle with the same issues,  and I received a call where I spent two hours with a twenty seven year old young man. He is struggling with drug use, pain over the people he has hurt, semi-homelessness, and  dysfunctional family, in fact the universal issues we all struggle with.

In our time together I realized of how sacramental life is.  As I fixed him a meal and served him I thought of the Eucharist, and in those moments the bread became body of Christ  as we shared together. For he opened up  his life.

In his sharing he basically shared of his fears, and the struggle with addiction and the pain it has caused him and others, and in those moments he was confessing his sins, and in the end as I assured him of his goodness I was pronouncing  absolution. He left forgiven, and starting again.

  People asked me all the time if I am “happy”, and I say I am “content”, the truth is  I am  supremely happy in season and out of season, for happiness comes in serving God, and letting all else fall into place. It is never about comfort or material needs. I learned that from my mother the Church.  The Church is God’s tool to facilitate our  growth and service, but like all mother’s and sons’ we hate each other half the time, but ultimately we love each other. It is to God the Church points, and in God through Christ we know wholeness and meaning. The Church points to all of life being sacramental. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

The Center

December 24, 2016

The Center

Luke  1:66-2-4  “He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives.”

At the center of my life is Jesus of Nazareth. Through the years it has been my faith that has held me together. Scott Peck said, “Life is difficult,” and having Christ at my Center has allowed me to see life as difficult, nothing is easy, but there is  beauty. We are called to live life in all of its dynamics–its joys, pains, its sorrows and in so doing grow.  Christ at my center has enabled me to see each person as a child of God, pure and simple, to see each creature as God’s creation, and as sacred.  During the past weeks I have received a lot of Christmas cards and thanks, I have also received some hate filled emails and phone calls–the ying and the yang-and at the center is Christ reminding me of the goodness of humanity because he is a part of us.  I have had friends turn on me, and again Christ reminds me people are fragile beings, but he is the Center.

I am a priest.  And that is my calling, and God has used this calling to bring a lot of people into my life, but ultimately, being a priest is not why I care for people, it is because at the center of my being is Christ who calls me to care out of my relationship to him. We are each in all of our humanness children of God, and God cares for each of us so much.  And I am grateful this Christmas Eve. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

What Will This Child Be?

December 23, 2016

 

What Will This Child Be?

Luke 1:57-66

This is the question parents asked when they have children.  My mother had big dreams for me, my dad had plans of me taking over his business. It was important for my dad to have his business carried on, but it ended with him.  Disappointment–he never showed any, he was always proud of me.

Today I reflect upon my parents. They were southerners, they were segregationists, and they were homophobic, and I believe if they had lived they would have changed, for at the center of their hearts was a love of Christ, and through that love serving others. A month before my dad died he took me into the his office, and we destroyed a large file of charge receipts. I bet it was in the six figures. My dad believed everyone should eat, and so no one who came into his business left hungry, he charged it. If they paid, they paid, but they always got food. At his death I discovered that we had lived on half of his income–the other half was given away to programs where people needed to be fed or housed; both of my parents  were very clear they wanted the cheapest caskets–horrified my family members. Yet we lived well, I attended the best schools, and one of dad’s last comments to me was: “Remember you can not take it with you, so do all the good that you can with what you have.”  Throughout my childhood that attitude was demonstrated, never preached, and from that I learned to be a gifter. My dad was right you can not take it with you.  Give it away, and you are truly free.

My parents taught me the things that have guided my approach to life–to always work hard, always earn my own way; never look down at any job–all work is good. No title or degree determines your work; treat people equally; life is difficult–so turn lemon juice into orange juice,  and most importantly to see in each person the face of Christ, and never expect thanks or appreciation in return–our call is to give.

As we enter Christmas, and as I move on the streets, I remember my parents. Today I am sure they would be called co-dependents, dysfunctional, among other names, and so am I, but like John the Baptist in my own inadequate way I point to Jesus, in the short time I have, and seek to answer the question my parents asked “What Will This Child Be?” My prayer is they are smiling upon me now with pride. And that when my time comes they with Jesus can say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  You see life is to be lived–in joy, in pain, to be lived to its fullest, giving it away. Like the Velveteen Rabbit we are called to wear ourselves out.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

Sliding Towards Bethlehem

December 23, 2016

Sliding Towards Bethlehem

Soon we will be bombarded with T.V., Internet, ads for dieting following our Christmas banquet. We will see the beautiful models showing off their bodies and offering for a price to make ours as nearly as good as theirs.

When we see these advertisement’s, and look at our own waists, we should remember the men and women who sit on our street corners, our alleys, and our curbs, and let them remind us of those in the wealthiest City in the country who are starving.  Our diets should magnify our awareness of the starvation in our midst.

In Scripture there is much ambiguity over most items,  accept the views of how God reveals to his writers his views on housing, hunger, and justice.  In Isaiah 58:6-12 we read:

“Is not the fast I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice,

to undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,

and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,

and your healing shall spring up quickly;

and vindication shall go before you. ….

if you offer your food to the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

then your light shall rise in the darkness

and your gloom in the noonday.  The Lord will guide you

continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places and

make your bones strong;

and you shall be a watered garden, like the spring of water,

whose waters never fail.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

you shall raise up the foundation of many generations;

and you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

the restorer of streets to live in.”

This Christmas we will gather around our tables and eat our fill, and hundreds outside our door will be alone and go hungry. It is easy to turn our eyes, because it is difficult to deal with the pain we see, and the futility of ending the pain. It is easy to place our blame on them, it is easy to place our blame on our systems of government—but I believe we should look within ourselves at our own fears, and begin working with ourselves in what each of us can do to provide for those outside our comfort zones.

One suggestion is that each time we eat out,  we eat only half–excellent for our waists as well–have the other half boxed up and give it a person on the street; and if you eat at home take your left overs and go out and feed people.

In so doing you not only provide nourishment for another, but you break down the false boundaries that separate us from other human  beings, and as those boundaries are broken down we can walk with them as our brothers and sisters.

May we pray this Christmas the prayer written by Janet Morley:

“God of community whose call is more insistent than ties of family or blood; May we so respect and love those whose lives are linked with ours that we fail not in loyalty to you but make choices according to your will.”

Now May the grace of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you now and forever more. Amen.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Thank you for your sharing this past year.

Fr. River Damien Sims

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Temenos Catholic Worker

The Unfurling of Generations

December 17, 2016

THE UNFURLING OF GENERATIONS

Matthew 1:1-17

Today’s reading looks unsparingly at Jesus’ ancestry.  Matthew points out that Jesus forbears included children born of incest (Perez), of mixed races (Boaz), and of adultery (Solomon). God entered our human history with all the episodes that proud people would be ashamed of.  In this writing we are learning that God accepts us at our worst, and seeks to to bring  us to redemption, to wholeness.

Dylan Roof was convicted of murder this week and faces the death penalty. He was raised in an environment of racism and bigotry.  He was raised to hate. He acted out of that environment.  If you look into his eyes closely, into that face that seeks so badly to show toughness, we can see a broken kid, the broken face of Christ, and we can see our own brokenness. 

Racism, homophobia, hatred of different religions, is within each of us. It raises its ugly head each day. We see it in the attitudes in our political campaign, we hear it on our streets.  There are places I do not go because I am queer.  There are places I do not go because I am white.   We need to look deep within ourselves–and understand that when we send people to be executed they are our  scape goats.

When I look into Dylan’s eyes I see each of us; when I looked into the eyes of the man who murdered my son I saw myself,  and I saw all of us. Dylan  deserves justice,  life in prison without parole, but not death. For to bring death on another continues the cycle of violence.  We need to look deep within ourselves. Never think I did not want the man who killed my son not to be executed, I still struggle with that now, but as I looked into his eyes and gave him the Sacrament of Reconciliation on his death bed, I knew that it was not my choice, but God’s, and my choice was simply to love, and hold my own desire for revenge at bay. That is why I am against the death penalty. To remove the death penalty protects us from acting out of our own desire for revenge and forces us to look within ourselves and at the other person  with mercy, and in  so doing lives are changed.  Life comes from giving life, not in taking it.

The pendulum of love turns slowly, some times backward, but always forward, until it is completed in Christ. Let us push this pendulum forward in Dylan’s case, and in each case of those who face the death penalty.

Write a letter urging the jury to give Dylan Roof life without parole. Write to

Jury Foreman, Dylan Roof’s Jury

Federal Courthouse

85 Broad Street

Charleston, South Carolina 29401

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims,sfw

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

Living Into Our Limitations From the Emptiness Within

December 16, 2016

LIVING INTO OUR LIMITATIONS From the Emptiness Within

Isa. 56:1-8; John 5:3-38

“Jesus calls us to live into the fullness of our humanity, to embrace what we, in our brokenness, experience as physical, psychic, or spiritual limitations. Jesus urges that, rather than seeking to be cured of our limitations, we ask God to heal us in them, and waken us to the spiritual gifts hidden in them.”

-Br. Jonathan Maury

I have been up most of the night with a person living in an SRO.  She has been provided with her basic necessities–accept one–someone to talk to. She was getting suicidal because “Sue” says, “the only friends I have are on Facebook.”

I open my computer as I get home, and I have several lovely (sarcasm) emails–telling me that I do not “preach the Gospel,” and ‘you are co-dependent,” among other things.  I am laughing at these emails. You see it is easy to sit back, to judge, and to write, for you see what is hard is putting your feet to the ground and sitting with people when they hurt without judgment. It is hard to pick up the phone and talk to someone.  I have received several critical emails about our latest newsletter, very critical–again it is easy to write.  In the last few years I have had people end relationships with me–by email–or letter–rather than sitting down and talking face to face with me.  What they do not realize is how devastating that was to me–especially when I have no understanding of what they are talking about, other than “you are different.” I am different, and I am a very limited human being.  I have spent most of my life trying “not to be different,” and in the end–I have come to understand I am “different” and very limited, and have asked God to heal and use those limitations, and in so doing have found wholeness in the scars of my life. To see this girl’s face last night light up after spending two hours over coffee with her  tells me that in my limitations I am doing something right. We need to see ourselves as limited people, and in working with those limitations we walk with each other.

Each day I asked God to use my limitations, and I am the most limited of people–and I know that.

One of the limitations that I see, and feel, and experience in our society today is our inability to communicate face to face.  We communicate through computers and texts, and we see the results in the pain in our lives. This Advent has been the most unpleasant Advent I have experienced. The anger over the election, the anger towards homeless people spills over into all aspects of life.  People say things on the street to each other, to those without housing that frankly are horrible.

If we would live into our limitations we would find that each of us are broken–whether we are homeless, have money, simply surviving–we are all broken people, and in that brokenness we can reach out and tough the lives of our friends, our neighbors, and find healing and solace.

Clement of Alexander said: “There is but one River of truth, but many streams pour into it, from this side and from that.” We are limited in our view of God. God comes in many faces, he comes to us in different ways. I was at the Asian Art Museum last weekend viewing the Asian art and their reflection of God in Buddha.  God comes to us in many faces. I am a fierce Christian, I love Christ, Christ is my all in all, but my guess is if I had been born in a Muslim country I would be a fierce Muslim because God is a many splendor ed being who manifests herself in so many ways.

Let us stop judging others, and get off our high horses that we are right, and accept our limitations and walk with each other. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw

P.O.
Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Peniel–Christmas/New Year

December 15, 2016

PENIEL, “”Where Jacob Wrestled With God.”

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

fr. river damien sims, director

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S NEWSLETTER. 2016-2017

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In The Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was God. . .John 1:ff

Fifteen years ago, on a rainy, cold night, in January, as I was standing outside my building , a car stopped, and a woman, whom I knew as a sex worker, stepped out with her thirteen year old son, and she said, “Father River please keep Jay for me and I will be back soon.”  I was startled as Jay walked over and she jumped back in the car and took off. A priest friend of mine said to me at the time, “You can not have him with you, people will talk, you need to be careful. Jay stayed, in fact, I did not see his mom for three days, but during the night he shared of sleeping with a number of men whom he called his “grandpas”. The next day I took him to school and called social services, Jay was removed to a safe environment that night, and was subsequently adopted by another family. He now has a excellent career and family of his own.

Ethics and all virtues can be summed up in this quote by Pema Cjodron:

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.  It’s a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

Only when we recognize all beings as our equals can our virtues and ethics be embodied in our living being.

In these days before Christmas I move about  wrapping gifts, being  called out at all hours, with individuals depressed and suicidal; I get little sleep;  I hear stories of heart break and fear. One I have known for twenty years threatened me when I refused to give him money, but when I bought him some food and gave him his gift he purred like a kitten; They hate me one minute, they love me the next, and through it all I love them fiercely. These guys are my family, my parishioner’s, and for me none of this is work, it is walking with my family. Pema is correct, “Compassion is a relationship between equals.” For in each person I see the the “Word become flesh,” and in that Word I find faith, strength and hope.

In the last  few years my fears of death, of being alone, and of not having enough have left me; and instead I see the face of Christ in each person and I have learned that true freedom comes in putting myself second.  For the “Word has become flesh and dwells in our midst.”

And so this Christmas God arrives among us, shivering in the cold, howling with hunger, begging with each breath to be fed and clothed and sheltered.  A voice crying out, a glimmer with a Gospel demanding to be proclaimed.  We hunt in vain for angels in the sky, for the angels are us,  as we share our food with the hungry, shelter the poor, clothe those in need–then our light will blaze forth in the dawn. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims

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CHRISTMAS GIFT:

In the last few weeks many have asked me “What can I get you for Christmas?”  And my answer is usually nothing, because I live in one room, my closet over flows with clothes, I have everything I desire. I tell people to simply give to Temenos, and yet they come back and asked. This year some friends have bought me a new television–they felt my twenty year old t.v. was an antique.  But what I do need is to have my space in the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Columbarium paid in full. I am paying it off slowly, and my goal is to have it paid by the end of next  year. I have arranged for so many burials of people that my fear is that I will wind up laying in the morgue for months, and I want to rest in peace. My life is lived in a way where there is always the possibility, and I know it sounds silly, but it is a need to I have had for along time to feel comfortable.  So if you want to give me a personal gift–send a check to Temenos marked “gift for River–columbarium” and it will go for that purpose.

Otherwise all money will go for the work of Temenos Catholic Worker, we are beggars, depending upon you for our needs. Thank you for your generosity this past year. If you want a receipt of your giving for the past year please email me. All money is tax deductible.

Again–I personally need nothing–your love and support of our ministry is all we need. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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MAY YOU HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!  MAY YOU THE LORD BLESS YOU, AND KEEP YOU, MAY THE LORD MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON YOU AND GRANT YOU PEACE. AMEN.

 

Why I Keep Going?

December 14, 2016

WHY I KEEP GOING?

I am asked all the time: “Why do you keep going?” Why aren’t you hardened after all of these years, what gives you hope?

For me what keeps me going is my relationship to Jesus of Nazareth.  I see no hope in the government, nor in any politician, or organization  but in Jesus of Nazareth,  he is the hope and he never lets you down. Holding hope in Christ for me is best expressed in these words:

Instead of looking for love, give it; constantly renew it in yourself and you will always feel its presence within you. It will always be there smiling at you, gazing on you kindly.
– Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

To hold the hope is to put yourself second, to love when you have little, to love when you have a lot, and know that in that loving you will find contentment; to hold the hope is to love without judging others based on race, creed, sexual orientation, but to see each person and each creature as a creation of God to be loved.

My family are all I come in contact with–and they like me are as dysfunctional as hell. I am judged, I am hated, I am loved, sometimes all in one hour, but to care without expecting anything in return always brings renewal. For Jesus never fails.

Last night I saw hundreds of people sleeping outside in the wealthiest City in the United States; there are millions across the world who have no housing, no food, no health care, and each of us can love without expecting anything in return and find a deep satisfaction. We must love without expectation. Each act of loving brings hope to all.

Why do I keep going? I keep going because Jesus of Nazareth loves me in my darkest moments, and in giving without expectation I am renewed in him, because he gives all.  Life is difficult, it is dirty. It is not easy to have someone spit in your face, it is not easy to have people cuss you, ridicule you; it is not easy to have someone you care about doubt you, and question you; it is not easy to clean up excrement, to put bandages on filthy wounds and know that they will be filthy in an hour; but in doing so we make a difference in the life of one person, and in the life of the world.

 

When I came to San Francisco I dreamed of a creating a large agency to “solve homelessness”, and found my dream fulfilled in walking as an equal on the same journey with one person as a time.  I will not solve anything, but all of us together loving and caring in our individual acts can make solutions–it begins with each of us. It begins with each of us putting ourselves second and getting our hands dirty.

This is why I keep going? Why do you keep going? Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw. D.S.T., D.Min. candidate

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org