The Arduous But Not Impossible Journey

The Arduous But Not Impossible Journey

Luke 9:28-36; Matthew 5:43-48

The Transfiguration Story is every one’s story of our own journey into the nature we were created to explore and inhabit This is not an easy march or a quiet march, it is an arduous but not impossible journey, and it is a journey of everlasting questions. The Transfiguration is a journey into being a forgiving person, and there are always endless questions in relationships.

Moses in Deuteronomy asks us to become “a people sacred to the Lord,” and the way to do that is offered by Jesus when he offers the prescription: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.. Could anything be harder to do or offer more endless questions? Does it not take a transfiguration of our lives to love our enemies?

I come from a long line of generous, gregarious southerners. They are also an emotional and volatile people adept at holding grudges.  Grudges that last from one generation to another. My journey with the church and my journey in ministry has put me in a position where I struggle with forgiveness. The Church was abusive, people have sought to hurt me, and say horrible things about me, and  try to take advantage of me. One young guy told another one he introduced me to: “Don’t mistake his kindness for niceness.” I am not a nice person, I am tough as nails.

I have learned through the years to sit with my anger and satiate it  by looking at the cross, and visualizing the Christ in the persons I am angry at. That may go on for several days, but ultimately I see the goodness of Jesus in that person, and see his struggles, his reasons, and I have empathy for their  emotional struggle. I see the why  people try to hurt me, use me, and I can forgive them, for they are trying to find themselves, no matter how wrongly they do it. In that forgiveness one can move out, and embrace that person in love. It is not just about me, but both of us. The journey is always a dance. And the journey is always painful, always painful, but if you keep at it, you find resurrection and joy.

Secondly, I forget things really fast. In a few minutes, whatever happens  becomes nothing. In the end how important is this in the long term.  Ultimately I look back and laugh. All I see is the goodness of the relationship, and that is what matters.

Over a year ago a friend I love very much hit me and busted two of my ribs. I walked away, and than came back, and have stayed with him through his struggles. Several therapist’s have told me he violated me and I should walk away”until you do you are his victim,” I am no one’s victim, I stand on my on,  and I look at the cross of Jesus, and see he did not walk away, he stays the course. He carries his cross–and he is no one’s victim. I forget, I move on, I care.

Each night as I pray the Evening Office and pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our debts  as as we forgive our debtors,” I name those I am angry at, praying they will forgive me, and remember Christ forgives me every day of my life and gives me a new start. I give people a new start, a new beginning. Forgiveness only comes when we forgive others.

Jesus gives us an arduous journey, but not impossible, and one with endless questions, and in following that journey our lives are transfigured into a life of love, of Jesus. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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