Journey on the Edge

Journey on the Edge

I Corinthians 6:13—“Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.

Yesterday I had lunch with an attorney friend, who works in private practice, cares less about his popularity, he works with those with whom no one else will touch. I met him in 1998 when people were coming at me with false accusations, and he said to me, which I doubt if he remembers, “You journey on the edge, and with it comes risks, you hang with the one’s no one else wants to hang with;” and a counselor friend, my first year here, sent me the photo of the “counselor’ shown, with the note: “You will be standing in the middle of a railroad track with twenty three trains coming at you, but you will find much pain, but also  joy.”

Last night at 3 in the morning a twenty year old came to my door with an infected leg; he had tried to stab me sometime ago, being high, and I had  knocked him on his ass, and he said, as I was cleaning his abscess, “You never mention what I did,” and I replied, “What did you do?” and smiled.

There are three things  learned in these past years, and I am still shooting my arrow at the target and missing the bulls eye, but come close.

First: Jesus is the One, to whom all loyalty is given, it is in him, that one finds strength, and hope. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John, “Put trust in no man,” but only in God, and all will be well. He is absolutely correct.

“People come and go; leaders, teachers, thinkers speak and work for a season, and then fall silent and impotent. Christ abides. They die, but He lives. They are lights kindled, and, therefore, sooner or later quenched; but He is the true light from which they draw all their brightness, and He shines for evermore.”
Alexander MacLaren

Secondly: To forgive. At three junctures in my life there have been bitterness, anger, and sometimes hatred, and at some point Christ knocks on  the door of my heart , and tells me in the words of Henri Nouwen:

“Maybe the reason it seems hard for me to forgive others is that I do not fully believe that I am a forgiven person. If I could fully accept the truth that I am forgiven and do not have to live in guilt or shame, I would really be free. My freedom would allow me to forgive others seventy times seven times. By not forgiving, I chain myself to a desire to get even, thereby losing my freedom. A forgiven person forgives. This is what we proclaim when we pray “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.This lifelong struggle lies at the heart of the Christian life. Fr. Henri Nouwen”

It is a struggle minute by minute, but in that struggle one fines peace.

To hold grudges, and old memories is the most destructive habit  we can practice. It eats us up. Political parties, candidates, and all the divisions we place on one another ultimately come and go, all that will remain are the cisterns of our lives–and we either work to keep them whole, or find ourselves broken, and miserable.

There was a comment on Face book about a study which describes the failure of all pattern of child rearing–we all end up broken, and miserable it concludes.  Personally I do not believe its conclusions, what we believe  is our choices  determine our happiness and joy in life.  And the choice the Gospel calls us to is forgiveness.

And finally Nouwen and Almquist gives a reminder why living on the edge is so much fun, filled with both pain and joy:

“When we truly love God and share in his glory, our relationships lose their compulsive character. We reach out to people not just to receive their affirmations but also to allow them to participate in the love we have come to know through Jesus. Thus true friendship becomes an expression of a greater love.

It is hard work to remind each other constantly of the truth, but it is worth the effort. Constant mutual forgiveness and a continual openness to the love of God are the disciplines that allow us to grow together in friendship.Fr. Henri Nouwen”

“Savor and be grateful for the gift of your life. Jesus said that “you are salt,” something which is of inestimable worth. You are salt, created to give a distinctive flavor to life, you like none other. By your presence, your witness, your gifts, you help others “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

-Br. Curtis Almquis

And so today we invite you to move out in the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the words of Paul:

I Corinthians 6:13—“Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.

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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