Thanks be to God!

Thanks Be to God!

Luke 2:36-40 English Standard Version (ESV)

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.[a] She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him (Jesus) to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.


    This morning I dressed in clerical s for a meeting and as  I walked to the Holiday Inn, giving out food, socks, it hit me, that whether I am wearing a collar or not, I am always a priest, from the moment I began at 17, until now so many years later. And people never let me forget it.

    Yesterday as I attended a candle light service for three teens, one of which I knew, and this morning met to plan one for Jim Gleason in the picture above, my thoughts went to the reality like Anna, I am near the end of my journey, and I have done by best to witness to the One brought to the Temple.  God has never let me go, but has chased me through the cotton fields of the south, the industrial areas of the north, and brought me to streets of San Francisco, the Temple into which I am called to minister. Someone was once telling me how stupid, and how inadequate I am for this ministry, and my response was: “Great, take my place, I am more than willing to leave,” and the person walked away.

    I have known Jim since he was twenty two, have seen him as a young man, full of life, struggling with drugs, and in that struggle show kindness and love to others, and in dying, leave many grieving, he lived a worthy life; the young teens whose candle light service I attended last night had just begun to live, and their lives were worthy, with a shining witness of care for   others.

    And so as we come to the cusp of this new year, I know I will not depart from this Temple, but will continue to witness in my own way to the One, who calls each one of us to love each other, to walk with one another and lift the burdens we carry, so that we can sing in the Temple together.

    Father Henri Nouwen, who struggled throughout his life, but was faithful in his ministry,  gives us that invitation to sing in the Temple, with words that ring out to the heavens:

Love is Stronger than Death

God is Spirit and the Source of all love. Our spiritual journey calls us to seek and find this living God of love in prayer, worship, spiritual reading, spiritual mentoring, compassionate service to the poor, and good friends. Let us claim the truth that we are loved and open our hearts to receive God’s overflowing love poured out for us. And living fully each day let us share that love in all our wonderful and difficult relationships, responsibilities, and passages.

The seeds of death are at work in us, but love is stronger than death. Your death and mine are our final passage, our exodus to the full realization of our identity as God’s beloved children and to full communion with the God of Love. Jesus walked the path ahead of us and invites us to choose the same path during our lifetime. He calls to us, “Follow me.” He assures us, “Do not be afraid.” This is our faith.

Deus Meus et Omnia, “My God and all things.” Amen.


Father Christian River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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