Cooking With the Fallen One’s–Dylan

Cooking With the Fallen One’s–Dylan

Luke 4: 16-30: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

People jeopardize their lives and the lives of others in order to make the moment livable, to justify a crazy belief that what they are doing will save their world–a dose of speed, a dose of H, on the street makes life in the moment without food, shelter, in the cold, the heat, livable, it is a relief. It removes the feelings of loneliness.

Our acts of violence towards one another are out of our fear, and a need to create a sense of our own worthiness. One person, who had murdered someone, who was on speed, told me, “I am afraid of living, I simply wanted to lash out.” It always stems from our own personal need, rather than looking at the other, we tend to look at ourselves.

One cold night in L.A., so many years ago in the mists of time, a well-dressed man picked me up to “help” me. And as I let my guard down, he held me down and raped me. I fought my way up, pulled a knife, and held it to his throat. As I drew a speck of blood, the horror of what I was doing over came me, and I walked away. I almost took a life–and it horrified me.  From that moment on I knew I would die first, rather than take someone else’s life. We are all capable of violence, in a moment, we can and do hurt people.  People see me as easy going, but I have fired interns, volunteers, in a moment when they threaten violence to another, even though they were simply being simply arrogant. For all of life is sacred.

Dylan Roof is a scared and broken  young man, he will grow older, as he faces going to his death. His swagger will leave, and his brokenness and fear will show. Dylan will become very lonely, very isolated, and his justification for his actions will be in the dust. All will be vanity.  Evil overcame his life, and drove him to the murder of many, but evil never has the last word,never, for in all of us there is the possibility of redemption.  For the Spirit of God moves in ways we do not understand, and redemption draws nigh to all of us. Dylan is not a terrorist, just a scared, scarred kid, who did the most awful of things, and hurt, and scarred so very many.  As I look into his face I think “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

So rather than judgment, let us look at mercy, and in seeing all of life as sacred extend mercy to the most violent, for only in mercy is their life.  I always remember that when I point my finger, four are pointing back at me–and I know in that moment–we all deserve mercy. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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