Archive for September, 2018

A Chance for A New God Experience

September 30, 2018

A Season for Everything- the acronym for CHANGE is….
a Chance to Have A New God Experience
(Sr. Rebecca St. Simon)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A season for everything

There’s a season for everything
    and a time for every matter under the heavens:
    a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
    a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,
    a time for killing and a time for healing,
    a time for tearing down and a time for building up,
    a time for crying and a time for laughing,
    a time for mourning and a time for dancing,
    a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
    a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,
    a time for searching and a time for losing,
    a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,
    a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
    a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,
    a time for loving and a time for hating,
    a time, a time for hating and a time for war.

Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
John said to Jesus: “Teacher, we saw someone throwing out demons in your name, and we tried
to stop him because he was not following us.  Jesus replied: ‘Don’t stop him. No one who does
 powerful acts in my name can quickly turn around and curse me. Whoever isn’t against us is
for us. I assure you that whoever give you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ
will certainly be rewarded.

Death is an intimate part of living. We die each day in so many ways.

In those death experiences, we find life coming forth if we but listen, and

observe.

When I came to San Francisco,  a Franciscan priest, familiar with the Tenderloin, and

with me told a group of people who asked about our ministry, “River, has chosen to walk

a road few choose to walk, emerging himself

in the filth of the street walking with young people as their friend, and as their priest,

he  lets them into his life, in away that they let him in theirs.  It is  a gift for ministry, that

few have, and he  is  judged harshly by many on the outside, so he has  stand

firm in his faith. His is a ministry of presence, and also suffering.” And it is.

My reputation flows like a stream, up and down, and I remain focused on  Jesus, for I

experience death in losing friends, and others who do not understand the way i

minister. Long time friends have moved away, colleagues have retired and moved on.

Death comes each day. Others walk way through misunderstanding.

The past year has been a year of dying,  as well. I have come to see that

each death leaves questions. Karen Sunde says; “To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven,”

and each day in each person on the street I encounter, in each young friend, homeless or

housed that I see, I have a glimpse of heaven, in loving them. I helped one nineteen year

old with a college paper the other night, and in doing that in love I had a glimpse of

heaven. I am fixing meals for a friend who is having surgery to freeze for her family,

and that for me is a joy, is love, and I receive a glimpse of heaven. There are glimpes

of heaven each day. But life is still a question.

Authenticity is being who we are.  Being true to ourselves, and that is what I work on each 

waking moment. To simply be myself, be true to my calling,  and love God through

loving the ones I encounter. Living in the moment–with hope which is all we have is,

living in the love of Jesus, who brings life to in its many forms.

Our divisions, our holding onto long time hatreds, and injuries caused by others destroy us.

To seek revenge is simply bringing  it back on us. We are like constantly changing, and

as we change, we need to let the past go. The greatest gift we have received is learning

to let the old piece of wood to be shaped into a work of art, as our life is crafted. Embrace

the now, forgive the past, accept people’s differences as a part of the beauty of life,

and meet each other half way. Live in the moment.

That is what I see ministry as, just being in the moment, walking with my friends in

that moment.  And in so doing we have “A Chance

To Have A New God EXPERIENCE.”

. to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

donations may be made through pay pal found on the website.

415-305-2124

punkpriest1@gmail.com

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Peniel–Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker–October, 2018

September 27, 2018
Journal of An Alien Street Priest
The Reverend Geoff Simpson, who spent a summer with us in 2003 recently wrote a song reflecting on that time, and two other similar summer experiences:
“Out. ..in the city, as the busy people hurry past the fragile form
pounding the pavement for a little something for that feeling, deep and warm.
Methadone treatments are harder to finish than finding the junk on the streets.
Nobody listens and nobody cares what he sells, what he buys, what he eats.
I offer sandwiches made up of cranberry sauce, ’cause it’s cheaper than jam’.
Needle exchange and protection, reducing harm to himself, is the plan.
Summer impressions; life shaking lessons.
Summer impressions, life shaping lessons.
The older I get, the more I forget how things that I’ve seen on the way, are still with me yet.
The older I get, the more I forget how things I’ve seen on the way, are still with me.”
From time to time people ask me when I am going to retire, and seem to have difficulty understanding the word “retirement” is not a part of my vocabulary; others tell me I need to do something else, and tell me, “You have done your part”, and  to walk away, which would be for me like Lot’s wife looking  back, “she turned to stone.” I have put my “hand to plow” and I can not look back. For the things I have seen on the streets are always with me, I can not escape.
In the City of San Francisco, we are experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis. Rents are driven to stratospheric levels by the growth of the technology industry. The homeless population is growing dramatically, often clustering in informal camps, on our side walks, and under bridges and freeways. As always San Francisco is the leader in the trends of the nation, and the trend of homelessness is spreading across the country.
Those of us who work with people on the streets often feel like the Green Monkey, who was separated from it’s Green Monkey troop, and whom you often find staring intensely  across the way at her friends, and sometimes even communicating with them by vocalization. Do they hear? What do you think she is saying? For twenty four years I have sought to answer that question of how to end homelessness, and still wondering when people are going to hear. There are no answers. All that is left for me is to be a pastor, in the moment, without judgment.
I came to San Francisco very black and white in my thinking, and in the years that have followed my thinking and actions  have moved into the gray ares.  As I have worked with people who have nothing, who are persecuted, harassed, ridiculed, and destroyed, the one thought that comes to mind is that their humility, compassion, and kindness has taught  me  there is no “evil” in the world, only pain,self-hatred, wounded souls, and disenfranchised humans, who are pushed to do terrible things.  Personally I believe that this may hold the key to healing the angry predicament we are in today. Hope overcomes fear.
Jesus in Mark 7:31-35, heals a deaf man, a sign of how God is acting to heal and transform a world marred by  injustice.  When we act in God’s name to bring his mercy to others, we never act alone and make present the truth Martin Luther King, Jr. once observed: “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Let us hear the voice of Jesus and move out of our tribes, and become an actor of healing.
May God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you now and forever. Amen!
———————————————————————————————  Activities in October
Weekly Meals–At least one, or two when we have assistance.
 October 1, 10 a,m.–6:00 p.m.–San Francisco Vegetarian Festival
October 20, Noon-5:00 p.m.– Our Town sf–Bringing together City non-profits to give people better access.
October 21: 8 and 11 a.m.– Reception giving thanks for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church support.
We invite you to attend and assist in any of these, activities, please call 415:305-2124.
—————————————————————————————————————–
        We Are Beggars!
As Thanksgiving and Christmas approaches we are in need of additional funding for buying gifts of stocking caps, and for extra food. We need financing for the increasing need of socks.
We are begging for your support, and in giving you become our hands and feet on the ground.
Mail:
Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
or through Pay Pal on our website
or through Pay Pal using  our phone number:
415-305-2124
If you have problems call 415-305-2124 for assistance.
Our thanks to all who support us now, to those who have entered the Communion of Saints, and to those who have moved on for various reasons.
We are often asked about our “community”, and our community are you who have given through the years, who support me personally, chastising sometimes, but always loving, and those who come and go as volunteers. We have never been alone.
Dio Gratias! Thanks be to God!
—————————————————————————–

The Road To Edmond

September 26, 2018

The Road to Edmond

“The Road to Edmond” is a movie about two guys–both Christian, and both in the cross fires of the institutional Church.  Larry, is a United Methodist minister, whose daughter died, and brought him face to face with his own mortality and with the institution and its “pat words”, and he no longer pastors a church, but his spirituality is one of encountering the “Wild Goose”, in one scene he performs the wedding ceremony of a lesbian couple.  That is a rebel act in the United Methodist Church with its homophobic stance. He is outside the grail., and Cleo is a youth minister in an evangelical church put on leave of absence because of his pastoral advice and care for a girl, contrary to that of the institution–we never know the issue, but it is one in which he is faced with opposition from his board. His pastor agrees with him, but cowardly does not stand with Cleo, for fear of losing his job.

Larry tells Cleo that as a minister he is to “love the girl as her  parents do”, and like all parents love is not perfect. And runs contrary to what the institution wants.

Larry sums up the movie in his wedding sermon, based on John 15 where Jesus says: “No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends,”–putting yourself second, seeing both sides, dying to one’s own needs in order that the other might live.

The Gospel is that of love–breaking through the artificial boundaries of institutions, and loving the other person as our brother and sister, our son and daughter, our grandson and grand daughter.

Last week I took  a sixteen year old friend to his  home from a Quinceanera, a Mexican celebration of a girl becoming a woman.on her 15th birthday. I had watched him move through the crowd, so gracious, and so full of life, without a care in the world. My friend was at his best. He always dresses in the best and puts on a great show. The reality is that because of the color of his skin he is  confronted with racism, and an economy that will be tough to make a living in.

As I pulled the cover over him on the couch where he collapsed when he arrived home I thought of a quote given to me many years ago: “A friend is one who sees through the act and stills enjoys the show.” This young man  is that type of friend, and I thought of all the hate and bigotry he will face in the coming years and the pain he will endure. And my prayer is that he will be like Larry and Cleo seeing through the show, and remain the caring and open person that he is.

In Edmond Larry goes to his infant daughters grave, where he felt the utter loneliness in life, and he broke down, as he read a letter of his father, which brought a closure to their relationship.  In those moments the thin line between eternity and the present opened, and Larry found peace, and in our imagination we could hear the voice of God saying, “Thou art my son, and I am well pleased with you,” and continuing down the road Cleo talked to the young girls parents and the young girl, and he was true to his path, and he too encountered the Spirit of God.

In a time filled with scandal, and the pointing of fingers, let us remember that God is like a Wild Goose, who moves in love and calls us to move in love, and to do  so means to take risks, to be hurt, but oh, the joy we find in the aches and pain, and in dying. For only in stripping down to the pain, can we find the joy of friendship, and of love.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

We receive donations on pay pal on the website. You can also give to pay pal on your phone.

Nothing Hidden That Want Be Exposed

September 24, 2018

NOTHING IS HIDDEN THAT WANT BE EXPOSED

“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead they put it on top of  lamp stand so that those who enter can see the light. Nothing is hidden that want be exposed. Nor is anything concealed that won’t be made known and brought to light.” Luke 8:16-17

“The function of ritual and myth is to make possible, and then to facilitate the jump–by analogy. Forms and conceptions that the mind and its senses can comprehend are presented and arranged in such a way as to suggest a truth or and openness beyond. And then, the conditions for meditation having been provided, the individual is left alone. Myth is but the penultimate, the ultimate openness–that void, or being, beyond the categories–into which the mind must plunge alone and be dissolved. Therefore, God and the gods are only convenient means–symbols to move and awaken the mind, and call it past themselves” ( The Hero With A Thousand Faces, p. 221-222).

This morning at 3 sixteen year old Rick rang my door, he had an abscess on his leg, bleeding, and infected. I knew if I took him to the hospital to have it dressed he would would not wait the four or five hours so I dressed it. As I was cleaning the wound he kept calling me “white boy,” and I reached over and picked up a safety pin and pricked my finger and pointed it in his face and said in anger,  “Do not insult me, we are the same color ,” in part that was due to being hurt by a friend, I really trust and care for, earlier who called me “white boy,” out of irritation, separating me from him, and in part from my own anger at us who are as whites have  rule the world with  prejudice and domination.

Earlier in the day working with a friend on his American history in the early part of the century I became physically ill over reading of how we as whites have ruled the world with our superiority. I want no part of that, and yet I am privileged from that, I can not separate myself from that heritage or the privilege. We can not tear down our monuments to that heritage, and forget, we must remember, and in so doing, grow, and change so we never repeat that again.

For inside we are all the same color, and we die the same, it is in our outward prejudices that we destroy. I finished with his wound and put him to bed on the bottom bunk and this morning, he hugged me and said, “I am sorry, you are my bro”, and I replied, “I know.” And he looked at me and said , “You are still a white boy,” and laughed.

Joseph Campbell, who by the way was a Republican and supporter of Nixon,–and who  fits into no categories–summarizes for me the way I look at life. Myth and religion are the guide posts that lead us outside the village compound into the wilderness, into the place where we fit into no categories, and that is where I am. I make psychologists, and priests uneasy, I make people in high places and of wealth uneasy, I hang out with people of all ages, I fit no where.  I am one of the “lost boys,” and as much as I fight being in the wilderness, it is where I work my meaning and purpose out. I like the feeling of being a part of a group of “homies” or the crew, but the reality is I never fit in, I always go counter, and suffer rejection. Robert Frost says it well, “to take the road less traveled.”  Right now the people I feel close to are six or seven crazy adolescents, five years ago it was a seventy five year old priest, and two eighty year old nuns, who have gone into the communion of saints. I am in no tribe.  But ultimately I am alone in the wilderness, on this journey, and ultimately it is my opinion that counts. That is why it is best to respect people in all of their opinions, and views–for we all are different.

People like to hear about my time on the streets, and my time here working, and neither one is romantic. My time on the streets when  I was much younger, were painful. We had so much anger, and we were in a situation where to survive you often times had to result to violence. I saw violence, and evil, at its darkest.

Through the grace of God, through the Spirit that moves ever so slowly my life changed, and I am slowly being born again. Through that time I learned that people grow, they change, and can experience grace. That is why I do not believe in the death penalty,and  believe that teens should never receive a life sentence, people change, they grow. That is why I do not raise my hand against any one or make judgments on their life choices. I am told to be “an adult”,– to be an adult for me is to walk with people, pick them up when they fall, and ever so gently walk with  them in finding their way, which may be very different from my own.

Jamie, who was 18 at the time, commented to me one night: “You must have done something really bad, to do what you do for us, to give yourself away, to love us, no one ever does that.”   I responded as I always do, that I have within me the power to do the worst, as we all do, and there but for the grace of God—and a hell of a lot of luck– go I. What love I have  comes from my experience with that Love that knows no end, and no ending of grace, and opportunity.

I am struggling now, I feel lonely, worn out, and very much alone,  misunderstood, but these are feelings in the moment, for I know that the road less traveled is the one that leads into the Kingdom, where I can say to  Jesus, “I tried, I honestly tried, and I screwed up, but I tried,” and he will say, “Welcome into the Kingdom my good and faithful servant, work well done.”

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

pay pal is on http://www.temenos.org or you can give through your phone.

Receive and Welcome Christ

September 22, 2018

Receive And Welcome Christ!

“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me.” (MK 9:37)

Sometimes, late at night, sitting around talking, after a little, ‘Pacifica,’ a friend, will with a glint in his eye say, “Let me tell you a secret,” and a secret is shared.

I want to tell you a secret, one I have only told three other people out of fear.  Several friends of mine have shared with me the same “secret” through the years, and their fear of having people knowing, and so I want to remove the stigma, of that secret.

A few years ago I was being evaluated for a position, and as always had a psyche exam.

The good doctor came in and sat down and said, “Do you know that you have Asperger’s? It is a form of autism”, and really frightened me.

In a course we had talked about it, but very lightly, so I  looked up the diagnosis and the symptoms that I spotted was my need to be single focused, my inability to work with numbers or it can be another academic area, my sense of not trusting people, and always questioning if I am liked. “Symptoms” I see in all my “normal” acquaintances.” I did not think much about it until I shared with someone and than I was treated as if I was an outcast, someone placed in a box.

So following several negative encounters this became my “secret”.  I have never shared this with a therapist or a doctor. And never publicly until now. And I focused my life to working on those “symptoms” more directly.

To be true to myself, to be true to my friends, I now am coming out. It is scary, embarrassing, and fearful.

The same with  PTSD, it is a label, the “symptoms” I work on, I struggle with, I do not let it define me.

When Jesus calls us to be children, he calls us to define no one, not label people, but view them  with wonderment, and with understanding.

Dorthy Day insisted that a baptized person should focus on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  As the traditional Christian hymn Ubi Caritas, reminds us, “Where charity and love prevail, God is ever found.”

What truly defines us is the charity and love we give to one another. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94109

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

You may give through pay pal on the website or through your phone.

Living in the Moment

September 20, 2018

Living In the Moment

  • Luke 7:31-35

    31 “To what will I compare the people of this generation?” Jesus asked. “What are they like? 32  They are like children sitting in the marketplace calling out to each other, ‘We played the flute for you and you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song and you didn’t cry.’ 33  John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34  Yet the Human One came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35  But wisdom is proved to be right by all her descendants.”

Things have not changed in regard to our basic human interaction since the time of Jesus, accept we have social media, and other means of communication which simply increase our arguing and disagreements. We run around like a chicken being butchered with our heads cut off screaming at each other without thought to the pain and damage we cause to one another.  There is so much division  in our society between groups.

One of our favorite quotes is from Anthony de Mello which says:

“It is only inasmuch as you see someone else as he or she really is, here and now, and not as they are in your memory or desire or in your imagination or projection, that you can truly love them.”

What he is saying is that rather than focusing on ourselves, our particular beliefs, our various tribes–political parties, race, religion, and sexual orientation, and the way in which we see others from past experience, we simply detach ourselves and live in the moment, focusing on what is in front of us.

Focus on the person in front of us, focus on what is at hand. Talk to the person in front of us, knowing we must meet them half way, rather than insisting on getting what we want. Rather than letting our differences divide us —  let them unite us in the common goal of caring for one another.

There is a quote that speaks to our heart: “What consumes your mind controls your life”, and  so we should look at what we think about all the time, and what trips our triggers, and then focus our minds and hearts on  the Great Commandment of Jesus: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and thy strength and thy neighbor as thy self.”

We grow and change each day of our lives, and so rather than focusing on the past let us look at who we are now, and let that shape our present and  future.  Personally we are not the person we were a year ago, and like a piece of scarred  wood, we are shaped each day  into a beautiful piece of art.

I remember John who is now 30, he was young man on the streets when we met him, and  John murdered a man, a john.  The D.A. had us work with him to admit his guilt, in order that he would not be given the death penalty, and he did. In the years that have passed, John has been transformed into a beautiful human being who serves  in teaching fellow inmates to read, and caring for them when they are sick. John is one of the reasons we  do not believe in the death penalty. We grow from our mistakes and our suffering. Our lives can be shaped into a work  of  art.

Let us come together, live in the moment, and see each other for who we are, broken human beings, and let us walk with each other and  help each other shape our lives,. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

Taking Up the Cross

September 16, 2018

Taking up the Cross

“You have faith and I have action.” But how can you see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action.” James 2:18-19

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:27-35

James “Guadalupe”Carney, was a priest who worked in Honduras. His life was transformed from that of a middle class priest, to a person who embraced the life of the Hondurans, and as a chaplain to the revolutionaries died, being thrown out of an air  plane. He said: “To be a Christian is to be a revolutionary.” That is what Jesus tells us, to follow him we have to take up his cross and follow him. We have to take up his cross and put ourselves second. We have to become revolutionaries.

Fr. Carney gave his life in a radical way, but there are ways we can be just as radical in our society:

1: Saying “I am sorry.” To acknowledge that we make mistakes, even when we are not sure. We have been told it is the “new generation” that is not aware of others, but we have found this goes across all the boundaries. We have few people who  ever apologize to us, from the rich to the homeless, because people can not get outside of themselves to realize that others might be right. We are so afraid to admitting an error;

2: To live simply. It means living simply, consuming as little as possible, sharing what you have with others, and accepting their sharing with you, and thereby being freed from the constant struggle to accumulate things;

3: To move out of our tribes, to recognize each other as simply a human being on the journey.

4. To let go of our fears of losing everything to embracing giving to others. To buy a homeless person food, without questioning if he or she deserves it; to give a homeless person some clothes, to treat them as an equal; to hang out with youth, as one of them, let them be themselves, and walk with them; to sit in a nursing home with someone and simply not be in charge, but be one of them listening, and laughing.

To take up the cross means we trust in God, let go of ourselves, and be one with creation, and know that death is no more to us, for the Cross frees us from death, knowing we are in the hands of Christ. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P. O.Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

The Cross

September 15, 2018

The Cross

The Exaltation of the Cross

John 3:13-17

Today as I walked the streets I observed Jeremy picking up bottles, and then Nathan approached me for some food, both I have known for many years. Neither one has ever had a place to stay indoors, accept a motel here and then as they prostituted, and now as they have gotten older, they have the streets; I pass two older gentleman who for as long as I can remember have been on the street begging for money, and always drunk, never once have I seen them sober. Passing the shelter I saw Michael, whom I have known since I have been here, now in a wheel chair. On Haight Street I run into thirty five year old Eddie, whom I have known since he was fifteen, still hustling, still selling drugs; I talk to two families who are among the sixteen thousand people who are employed and can not afford housing, living in their cars,   tents, sleeping bags and makeshift camps are every where. It is as if we are living in the days of The Grapes of Wrath, in a City of great wealth.

People walk by, as if they are in a daze, not seeing people, talking, and laughing. Many of us live in fear that we may be next, that we too may be living on the streets, and so we walk by. We seek relationships on social media that leave us void, and feel so sanitized.

The cross stands before us as a sign of that our meaning can only come from embracing the way of suffering and acknowledge that there are always questions and that we find our purpose in struggling with those questions, and there are no black and white answers. 

Moving away from hoarding, to sharing,moving away from being afraid of our own futures, and living in the present, we find life

There is a Mayan Bodhisattva which calls us to live
The way of joyful participation in the way of the world.” That is the call of the Cross.

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

http://www.temenos.org

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

 

Message of the Day
It is only inasmuch as you see someone else as he or she really is here and now, and not as they are in your memory or desire or in your imagination or projection, that you can truly love them.
– Anthony de Mello

(Try to see people and things as they are, not as you are.)

Peniel–September Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker

September 7, 2018

JOURNAL OF AN ALIEN STREET PRIEST: The Invisibility of Aging

As we move into September we will soon see the leaves of trees begin to turn to beautiful colors (at least in some parts of the country), and the weather will be getting chillier (at least in some parts of the country), Autumn will arrive. We are moving towards winter, and in that movement we celebrate, and we have joy with our friends and loved ones. And than Winter arrives, all is dead around us.

That is the way our lives are as we move through the seasons of change, from infancy, to old age. This is the way people who are homeless and have very little to live, they move through their lives invisible, and become even more so as they get older.  And this time of  year is a good time to think about the Autumn of our lives, our hopes, and our fears.  This time of year is a good time to reflect upon our actions that we give people as they age, and to those who are invisible as we pass them on the street, the homeless.

Polk Street is filled late at night by young people. They are partying, having fun, the only older people around individuals who are homeless, whose lives are broken, and have been beaten down with years on the street. Some of them are young, but already old. They are gaunt, many with out teeth, dirty, and keep their eyes down to the street, and are ignored. They are invisible as are people who are over thirty five.

People who live on the street, who have nothing, are symbolic of all of us,  as we get older, and become invisible.  We become unseen.  We have heard it said many a time by young college men, “You are too old to be out here once you hit thirty,” and in many ways that is true. We witness young men who live a life of partying, having fun, and than as they move into their thirties their lives seem to be over with.  This is especially true of young gay men. 

The same is true of all of us as we move into our older years, we become invisible.  Our street youth in the Haight experience that invisibility in their teens, because they are homeless.  People become invisible when they do not fit into the expectations and the usefulness of society. People rarely look back at homeless individuals, as they rarely look back at older people.

In South Africa, the people greet one another on the road by saying, “Sawubona.” It means “I see you.” The answer in reply is “Here I am.” In other words, you are not invisible. You are someone. You are God’s beloved child, whatever race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation you may be.

We need to look at others and also ourselves in this way. We must not be passively invisible.  We need to help each other know what this invisibility means as we age, and as we move among people who are homeless, and are different from us by race, creed, and sexual orientation. We need to have faith that each of us has a purpose, everyday, until God calls us into his Kingdom at last. Teilhard de Chardin calls this Kingdom “communion,” and he prays that it is truly a great holy communion:

“You are the  irresistible and vivifying force, O Lord, and because yours is the energy, because, of the two of us,  you are infinitely the stronger, it is on you that falls the part of consuming me in the union that weld us together. Vouchsafe, therefore, something more precious still than the grace for which all the faithful pray. It is not enough that I should die while communicating. Teach me to treat death as an act of communion.”

Last month I was called to the hospital when nineteen year old Jason overdosed, and he had died by the time I arrived.  Standing over his body, the thought that went through my mind, was that “Jason you are finally at rest.” I reached out for his hand, barely cool. Poured some water  from a drinking glass on my hand and blessed him on his forehead, with the sign of the cross. I rested in the silence of him entering into the invisible world, the great communion.

As we enter into our Fall routines let us remember the “invisible” people around us, let us remember the aged, the homeless, the disable, the people of color and other religions, and let us recognize them by saying in our own way, “Sawubona”, (“I see you.”) and in so doing recognize them as God’s beloved children, and remember that homelessness, will not end until each of us does our part. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Weekly Meals:

We continue to have at least one meal a week through the help of our interns, Cale and Aaron. The days very because of their schedule. The meal involves packing it in “Chinese Take Home Boxes”, and than serving them to the Haight. It is heavy work, and takes at least four hours, because  of the preparation and spending time with people. If interested please give us a call. People asked if they can fix a meal, pack it, and meet us in the Haight. We are certified by the City to cook meals, and it has to be done in a kitchen that is certified as well.

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We Are Beggars:

Our finances are very low. We are in need of socks, we are in need of money for food, and so we beg, for your support. We continue to minister to 500 plus young people a month through our pastoral care, socks, food, and needle exchange. And so as you reflect during these  days we pray you will remember us. Please give:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Or

Pay Pal at www.temenos.org

Our web site has been changed to a new server it is much easier to go directly to Pay Pal and give directly through your Pay Pal account. We have discovered that you can also give through Pay Pal by using your phone.  You have to go into the website of Pay Pal and set it up.

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Death Penalty Protest:

Each Wednesday at Noon we gather at McAllister and Polk in from of the Earl Warren Office Building to protest the death penalty. We remember those who are victims, and those who committed the crimes, and pray that our State will no longer live in a culture of death. We have not heard one word mentioned during the political campaigns about the death penalty and so let us write our candidates, and our elected officials and urge them to over turn the death penalty.

There is a story told of two warriors who would have a battle, and when the battle was over would put down their weapons, greet each other with a kiss, and say, “Till tomorrow,” so let us remember to do the same with our differences, give a good fight, but end in peace and reconciliation. 

How Quickly Things Change!

September 4, 2018

HOW QUICKLY THINGS CHANGE!

lUKE 4:16-30

MATTHEW 6:24

I studied Liberation Theology in seminary which has shaped my life. I learned that we should live simply, give our abundance away, and live one day at a time; in my denomination I was taught about pensions, and salaries, etc, and basically letting others fend for themselves. From the streets I learned that we can either fight for ourselves or we can share and help others. From Dorothy Day I learned to live simply, live with the marginalized, and trust in God to take care of the rest. We must look at our money, we must look at how Jesus calls us to live.  And that brings me to thinking of what has been on mind for along time, “How Quickly Things Change!”

On Palm Sunday Jesus was praised, and on Good Friday crucified. In his home town he was vilified.

A year ago I had the world by the tail, plenty of money, praise, and adoration, my new doctorate, but than came the fevers, and the accident, and the opposition; Now I have little money, on the verge of bankruptcy personally, no volunteers, few friends.  I am told I am “difficult”, “immature”, and now that the priest controversy has started again,  other names are being hurled at me on the street, by email, and by face book, simply because I am a priest and one who works with youth.

And what I see is that this is the precarious nature of the mission of Christ–it is precarious, there are no guarantees for from the beginning he lived with the threat of death. I learned along time ago that feeding the hungry, being a pastor to murderers and youth on the streets leads others to rage, real rage. And that rage leads to violence.

The Gospel of Christ should make us uncomfortable–disrupting the complacency of our lives, shattering old ideas, disquieting our stubborn points of view. It should not drive us to a hillside rage, but should lead us to place where we want to change. It should stir a desire for on going conversion and to stand before God not in defiance but in humility and hope, yearning to remake our lives.

And as for me I hear the words of Paul:”I believe the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. . .We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called to his purpose”………………………………….

and give thanks for the life I have been given, the people I walk with, the friends I have, and infinitely thankful for my call and ordination as a priest–as one who is “a keeper of the mysteries.”

I remember in my first student parish and older Disciples of Christ pastor in a nursing home in a wheel chair, who told me, “I am always a pastor, I pastor these old codgers here,” he passed away holding a communion wafer, as he was giving it to someone,  he made me uncomfortable because I saw in him myself, and now I know whatever comes, I am always a pastor and priest, in season and out of season.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

temenos@gmail.com

415-305-2124