The Cost of Looking Back

The Cost of Looking Back

Luke 17:26-37 English Standard Version (ESV)

2Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”[a] 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse[b] is, there the vultures[c] will gather.”


    Jesus tells his followers not to look back. But he does not take his own advice, does he? Jesus was liberated from the chains of this world, free to resume his heavenly reign. But even as he resolutely journeyed toward Jerusalem and the cross, Jesus looked back, refusing to leave us behind. Jesus longs to be with one with us, no matter the cost. He calls us to do the same–to look back, never to give up on one another, regardless of  the cost.

    Our photo today is my 25th Anniversary Bible,signed by my friends through the years. There are the wealthiest, the poorest, the most rejected–two–one on death row, and another  serving a life sentence, Republicans, Democrats, believers, atheist’s, and of different colors, a rainbow of friends and colleagues. 

    One signature is the mother of a young man, murdered. We met as I stood outside of the Federal Building silently protesting the death penalty. She has cussed me, screamed at me, and now we are friends–mutually disagreeing .

    When people tell me that I pay to high of a cost for my work–I look at this Bible, and know what it means when I reword the saying of St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel as little as possible, but always care, without judgment and  regardless of the cost.” It has all been well worth it.

    In her book Elderhood, Dr. Louise Aronson, describes Old Age, as a time of embracing the gift of life, the third stage of life, and of seeing it as a time of simply evolving in our caring for others. Her approach contradicts the saying “Old age “Aint t for Sissies”, as to be dreaded, but to be embraced as our  final gift. That is the goal I am struggling with, and I look to many who have signed my Bible, to lead me into that gift.

    For when we never give up on one another, we have a community of all ages and are never alone. 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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