For the Time Being


Wisdom 3:1-9; Romans 5:5-11; John 6:37-40

“To remember all of those we cherish who have died, does not mean telling their stories over and over again to my friends, nor does it mean pictures on the wall or a stone on their graves; it does not even mean constantly thinking about them. No. It means making them a participant in God’s ongoing work of redemption by allowing them to dispel in us a little more of our darkness and lead us closer to the light.”  We paraphrased these words of Henri Nouwen as we walked late yesterday afternoon  and stood in the Temenos grave site at Colma, where the ashes of  one hundred fifty one   young adults are buried; they echoed in our mind as we sat in the columbarium  of St. Luke’s last night before the spot marked, Number 45, where our ashes will sooner than later   be placed; And with sadness we looked at our best friend  Vicki’s photo  hanging on the wall , who died  in April of this year; all of them lead us closer to the light.

The words of Annie Dillard in  For the Time Being are more descriptive of All Soul’s Day and summarize our feelings more  than any others:

“There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been: A people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware; a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death.

It is a weakening and discoloring idea, that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time– or even knew selflessness or courage or literature– but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.” –

And all that is left for us at the beginning of this day is to pray the Litany of Queer Saints:

“God, thank you for the lives of the LGBTQ saints and martyrs. May they inspire us to live with courage and loving hearts.

Saints of Stonewall, who performed the miracle of transforming self-hatred into pride, pray for us.

Saint Joan of Arc, fearless warrior and gender-queer martyr, pray for us.

Saint Sergius and Saint Bacchus, male couple united in love and death, pray for us. We call upon Sergius and Bacchus…and all the saints…to offer strength and courage to those who defend the LGBTQIA community from discrimination. God, in your mercy…. hear our prayer.

Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicity, patron saints of same-sex couples, pray for us.

Saint Mychal Judge, fire-brigade chaplain and first martyr of 9/11, ordained but un-canonised by the church on account of your queer spirit, pray for an end to violence against all people.

Saint John Henry Newman, you are an example of true friendship and Love. Pray for us to appreciate and hold our friends closely even in Death.

Saint Alan Turing, who ended war, saved millions and changed the world — martyred by the judiciary, pray for us.

Saint Sebastian, who by example gives courage to the down-trodden, pray for religious minorities.

Saint John, Beloved Disciple, apostle and evangelist, pray for us.

Our Lady of Montevergine, patron of queer people since medieval times, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

Sor Juana de la Cruz, nun who loved a countess in 17th-century Mexico City, pray for us.

Saint Vida Dutton Scudder, educator and welfare activist, help us to be social reformers.

Saint David Kato, Ugandan activist and resilient martyr, pray for us.

Saint of Stonewall Marsha P. Johnson, pray for us, help us to be brave and achieve eternal life and come to greet us when our mortal life is over.

Saint Philip, who welcomed the Ethiopian eunuch to the early church, role model for LGBTQ allies, pray for sexual minorities and cast your Welcome into their hearts.

Holy Harvey Milk, martyred gay rights pioneer, pray for us. We have a long way yet to go.

Saint Matthew Shepard, crucified by hateful men, young forever, pray for us.

Martyrs of Orlando, shielding those you loved with your own bodies, pray for us and lend us your courage.

Martyrs of the UpStairs Lounge fire, whose memory burns in our hearts, pray for us.

All our holy innocents and martyrs, pray for us.

Jesus, friend and liberator of outcasts, tortured and killed on the cross for loving beyond limits, pray for us.

Prophets in our midst usually get marginalized and thumped down by the powers that be. Thank you, Holy Sophia, for blessing and encouraging them to witness and reveal aspects of your sweet mercy and love!

All you LGBTQ Saints, named and unnamed, pray for us! Empowered by your spirit and your example, we move forward in solidarity with all creation to embody justice, love, integrity and peace.

On your shoulders we stand!

Blessed be your memory!”

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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