In the Watch Fires. ..

In the Watch Fires of a Hundred Circling Camps

 Luke 6:6-11 ———————————————

    As I walked through the Tenderloin Saturday night for Resin’s service many people spoke to me from their tents on the side walk. Surrounded by a windy, foggy night, a verse from the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” echoed  through my brain:

“I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps.
They have built Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.”

    And as I read and proclaimed the Word to those at the memorial service I thought of the promise made by Jesus in his healing we read of  today in the lectionary reading,  and the scripture  proclaimed in the Book of Hebrews: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,”, the day of freedom on which we must do good, a festive Day of the Lord, which announces and sacramentally anticipates the endless feast in the fully realized Kingdom.

    Each person who spoke Saturday night shared of the good that came forth from Resin, and the good he brought forth from them, and  each  shared of his negative behavior. They shared of their positive, and their negative behavior as well.  In essence they shared of how we are all a mixture of saints and sinners, and  we fluctuate from one end to the other.

    At the same time I thought of a line in a book given to me by Sr. Helen Prejean: To River–the Jesus man who is on fire!” an  inscription which left me with an uneasy feeling, and yet on Saturday night I came to understand that is the best in me, to aim for, and like Resin, and my brothers and sisters standing in the chill,  we do the best we can–and ultimately we will enter the presence of God, and find ourselves in the day of complete freedom.

    I felt myself touched by an angel as I walked home:

“I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps.
They have built Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.”

————————————————————————————–

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124River On Fire

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