Archive for March, 2020

Station 2: Jesus Carries His Cross

March 31, 2020

Station 2: Jesus Carries His Cross

March 31, 2020–The Cloud of Unknowing

    John of the Cross wrote about not knowing if God is present, feeling the emptiness of the soul, but trusting in God in that emptiness. With the same theme, an English teacher, who was dying of cancer, once told me “All will be well.”

    When Jesus carried his cross, all he knew was that his life was nearly over, Christ was living in the cloud of the unknowing. Jesus also knew that “all will be well” in that emptiness.

    On the streets we are seeing homeless people who are terrified, being pushed aside when they refuse to obey “the man”, as they call authority; People walk a mile around each person, ignoring them, in our doorways  and on the street. Many will be housed temporarily , but the vast majority will be in our parks, and our doorways. It will be difficult to have “social distancing” in their shelter. In the heart of the Tenderloin the drug dealers are selling drugs, people are in close contact as if nothing has happened.

     “The street transform every ordinary day into a series of quick questions and every incorrect answer risks a beat down, shooting, or pregnancy, (unknown author)”, this is the life of the street, it is living in the cloud of the unknowing.

    There is a quote from face book, which tells us our privilege those of us are who practice social distancing:: “Social distancing is a privilege. It means you live in a house large enough to practice it. Hand washing is a privilege, it means you have access to hand washing soap and sink, lock down is a privilege, it means you have a  home to be locked down in…”

    Our calling is to remember the separation of money, and privilege, from the poor,  and seek to even that path.

    The call of each one of us is to carry the cross of Jesus, to see the individuals in our door ways, parks, and on the street, as our brothers and sisters, and to remember as we live in the cloud of the unknowing, “all will be well,” and we are invited to carry the cross of Jesus. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Station 2: Jesus Carries His Cross

Tenderloin Stations of the Cross

Good Friday

Noon-2:00 p.m.–meet at City Hall Polk Street side.  You are welcome to join us in person or in reading the Stations and praying with us as we proceed through the Tenderloin at home.

    Jesus was forced to carry the cross upon which he would be nailed, ridiculed, and executed. What does it represent? It represents that, for his journey he takes up the weight of all of our crosses: all of our senseless suffering and the weight of all the sin in the world, past, present and future.
Kobe Bryant describes his journey: “When I was young my mindset was image, image, image. I took that approach with the media. As I became more experienced I realized that no matter what, people are going to like you or not
like you. So be authentic, and let them like you or not for who you actually are. At that point, I started keeping all of my answers blunt and straightforward. I would mix in some humor and sarcasm, too. I think fans
and reporters came to appreciate that, came to appreciate the real me.”
A number of years ago a young friend was using Father River’s car. He took it to his private school with an ounce of marijuana, and was somehow caught. River told the school it was his marijuana, which resulted in losing
financial support, reputation, and nearly legal consequences. This young man is now in law school which, with that incident on his record, may not have
happened. Temenos stands with young men on trial for murder, without judgment, and with the hope they will find new life. It is not about being co- dependent, immature, or idealistic. It is about, like Kobe Bryant, learning to be authentic. It means taking up the cross, always seeing the best in people, and giving them second, third, and fourth chances. It means taking them for
who are, and walking with them without applying our expectations of how they should live their lives upon them. It means walking with them as equals.
Bearing the cross of Jesus on the street means withholding our judgment of  those we see. It means getting to know each one, and sometimes being hurt
personally. It means to love them, and advocate for each one. It means walking with them as equals and casting out small pebbles in faith. Things are Topsy-turvy in your kingdom, God. The poor bear gifts of great
worth, the dead rise, the meek inherit the earth. Teach us how to live in an upside-down world where we are called to welcome the outcast, prepare a feast for the ragged, and forgive those who offend.” Amen (Common Prayer:
A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals).

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Stations of the Cross Exmin Style

Step 1: Choose a Station. Let’s say we’re focusing on Jesus taking up his Cross. You can read a passage from the Bible that correlates to that scene or simply picture an image in your mind. Then take a few deep breaths and ask God to help you quiet your head and open your heart. Often we only try to focus on getting rid of all the mental chatter inside of us, but it’s also important to place our attention on the waves of emotions and feelings inside us. Something in you might resist focusing—you may feel tired, nervous, or angry, but that’s okay. Allow yourself to find a level of openness that is true to you.

Step 2: Remind yourself that God is all around you. He’s inside you and outside you and his heart beats in yours. Try to feel that reality as best as you can. Then take the picture of Jesus carrying his Cross, and imagine placing the image inside you. Let it take root in you.

Step 3: Ask the Holy Spirit to rise up inside you and give you the wisdom to acknowledge God in your life. Ask the Spirit to help you meditate on the scene inside you. How do you think Jesus felt when this was happening? What was he thinking? What is your cross to bear? How heavy is it? How does it affect your relationship with God?

Step 4: Review your day. Where did your cross feel the heaviest today? Where did you encounter the cross on the shoulders of others at work, on the news, or in the streets? Where is God in these encounters? Ask God to make you more aware and compassionate of others and yourself.

Step 5: Give thanks to God for the opportunity to know Jesus better, and ask God to help you to become more aware of the crosses that everyone carries in life.

Image by Enrique López-Tamayo Bio

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

_________________________________________________________________

 

Station 2: Jesus Condemned to Death

March 30, 2020

Tenderloin Stations of the Cross—Good Friday, 2020

City Hall-Polk Streetside—Noon-2:00 p.m.—Join us as we walk the Stations through the Tenderloin by reading with us at that time. Be with us in spirit and prayer.

Monday, March 30, 2020

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       Sister Helen Prejean is known for her fight against the death penalty. She is a woman who comes from an upper middle class background, becoming a nun who lived a middle class life, until she encountered Christ in Elmo Patrick Sonnier, a death row prisoner, she journeyed with him to death row.  Her life was transformed.

       Helen never backs down, and with the same courage she walks with Dzhokhar Tshokhar, the nineteen year old who participated in the Boston Marathon bombing. He is a Muslim, and she shares how in prison his faith has been transformed into one of non-violence. He studies the Koran and prays daily, and she is his spiritual director. People laugh, condemn, and criticize her, saying that she is being fooled, but Helen  stands with him in faith. Sr. Helen believes that in Christ people can change. Sr. Helen Prejean believes in the seamless thread of life.

       Like Jesus, Sister Helen stands before Pilate, head unbowed, witnessing to the truth. And many condemn her to death in various forms.

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       This morning I learned of the death of the grandmother of my friend Winston in Marin, from the coronavirus. Winston is twenty years old, and his is afraid, and feels alone. It will be months before they can mourn as a family, let us remember Winston,  his grandmother and family  in our prayers.

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Station 1: Jesus Condemned to Death

Jesus is condemned to die when we sit with complacency, passing the buck

to others, and simply throwing up our hands. Ugandan Theologian Emmanuel

Katongole reminds us:

“Mary represents the ‘rebel consciousness’ that is essential to Jesus’ gospel.

Wherever the gospel is preached, we must remember that its good news will

make you crazy. Jesus will put you at odds with the economic and political

systems of our world. This gospel will force you to act, interrupting the world as

it is in ways that make even pious people indignant.”

    Homeless campsites are being moved out of parks, our doorways, and

people are scared. They lose all they have in one sweep, with nowhere to go.

In Santa Rosa, one of the largest camp sites was removed from near a hiking

trail and suburban housing, and shelter could only be offered to a third of the

population. Residents rejoiced; they could now hike in safety and without

seeing the homeless. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Alex is an eighteen-year-old black young man from our area who is HIV

positive. His parents kicked him out because of “the sin he brought into his

life.” He has had difficulty in finding services, and panhandles on the corner

near our public library. People walk by ignoring or condemning, while some

offer money. A small pebble of caring through talking, giving money, time,

and food makes all the difference to Alex.

In Alex and the people in the tents in Santa Rosa, Jesus is condemned to die.

His innocence enters into the humanity of those ignored, shunned,

condemned, and despised.

Let us pray:

While we sat in darkness, Lord Jesus Christ, you interrupted us with your life.

Make us, your people, a holy interruption so that by your Spirit’s power we may

live as a light to the nations, even as we stumble through this world’s dark night.

Amen. (Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals).

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Stations of the Cross Exmin Style

Step 1: Choose a Station. Let’s say we’re focusing on Jesus taking up his Cross. You can read a passage from the Bible that correlates to that scene or simply picture an image in your mind. Then take a few deep breaths and ask God to help you quiet your head and open your heart. Often we only try to focus on getting rid of all the mental chatter inside of us, but it’s also important to place our attention on the waves of emotions and feelings inside us. Something in you might resist focusing—you may feel tired, nervous, or angry, but that’s okay. Allow yourself to find a level of openness that is true to you.

Step 2: Remind yourself that God is all around you. He’s inside you and outside you and his heart beats in yours. Try to feel that reality as best as you can. Then take the picture of Jesus carrying his Cross, and imagine placing the image inside you. Let it take root in you.

Step 3: Ask the Holy Spirit to rise up inside you and give you the wisdom to acknowledge God in your life. Ask the Spirit to help you meditate on the scene inside you. How do you think Jesus felt when this was happening? What was he thinking? What is your cross to bear? How heavy is it? How does it affect your relationship with God?

Step 4: Review your day. Where did your cross feel the heaviest today? Where did you encounter the cross on the shoulders of others at work, on the news, or in the streets? Where is God in these encounters? Ask God to make you more aware and compassionate of others and yourself.

Step 5: Give thanks to God for the opportunity to know Jesus better, and ask God to help you to become more aware of the crosses that everyone carries in life.

Image by Enrique López-Tamayo Bio

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

_________________________________________________________________

Stations of the Cross, 2020

March 29, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fifth Sunday in Lent

John 11:25-26

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

            Last night around 2 a.m. there was a knock on the door, and two of my nineteen year old friends from Palo Alto came bouncing in carrying their skate boards, and basically begged me to go boarding, and out we went; this afternoon I was  surrounded by youth in the Park, afraid, unsure, of all that was going on, and we simply hung out; tonight I was in Marin taking a lady her certification of service hours  for court and my friend Matt, who is 20, wanted to go to a store in Vallejo, and at first I was reluctant, but we went; came back and saw my 18 year old friend Cale; earlier I had taken a graduation gift to another friend, and wondered if he would appreciate it, and then thought, it is my gift to him and there is joy in the giving, and I feel good; I was struck by the thought: This. It. The meaning of the resurrection and the new life offered for all—this is the gift of belief in Jesus for all.  Albert Schweitzer’s quote came to mind: “ I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know; The only one’s among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” This is God’s  love in Christ for us: to live in unity, joy, and peace. To simply live freely, and joyfully. This. Is. It.

            We begin our journey to Calvary. Every three days or so I will present two or three of our Stations of the Cross. On Good Friday I will do the Stations, if individuals choose to come, I will have much joy, but in light of the present situation will not be asking anyone; instead you are invited to follow with us at Noon on Good Friday. So as we begin our journey towards the climax of Lent let us each day reflect upon the Stations of the Cross, and the Seven Last Words of Jesus:

Small Pebbles

Tenderloin Stations of the Cross

2020

Introduction: City Hall

Small Pebbles

Mark 4:26-34 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Seed Growing

26  And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the

ground. 27  He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he

knows not how. 28  The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then

the full grain in the ear. 29  But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the

sickle, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30  And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable

shall we use for it? 31  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the

ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32  yet when it is sown it grows up

and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so

that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

33  With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear

it. 34  He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples

he explained everything.

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    Standing in front of City Hall in San Francisco, one is overwhelmed by its

size, beauty, and the power it contains. It is from here that millions are given

for the homeless and disenfranchised. Each year millions are spent, and each

year the misery on the streets continues.

    Each spring and throughout the summer there is a spot in the County Park

in Marinwood where we walk. In a corner between the fence and the path,

nasturtiums and morning glory vines grow and flourish. Our grandmother

planted both as we were growing up, and our memory returns to those years

of nurture and love. They are small pebbles reminding us of love, a love that

continues to flow in our veins. Small pebbles like the mustard seed speak to us

through the portals of time. They continue to blossom, ever so slowly.

    Recently we received an email from a lady we had encountered late one

night on Polk. We had simply bought her a meal and spent time chatting. We

had no memories of that night. That was years ago. She wrote, “That one meal

saved my life. I found life worth living in those moments with you.”

Small pebbles cast like mustard seed.

    There are few opportunities for grand gestures, but we can practice what

Dorothy Day called “pebbles” of kindness.

    In the area around City Hall, moving out into the neighborhood, we are

surrounded by misery. People sleeping on the street. Minds blazing on drugs.

Drug dealing on our corners.

    Jesus began his journey to Calvary, and invites us to journey with him,

adding our light to the sum of his, and giving small “pebbles” of kindness to

others.

Dear God,

I so much want to be in control.

I want to be the master of my own destiny.

Still I know that you are saying:

“Let me take you by the hand and lead you.

Accept my love

and trust that where I will bring you,

the deepest desires of your heart will be fulfilled.”

Lord, open my hands to receive your gift of love.

Amen. Father Henri Nouwen

STATONS OF THE CROSS EXMIN STYLE

In the last year I’ve wanted to get to know Jesus more deeply by focusing on the many trials he experienced at the end of his life. So I began applying a variation of the Examen—a reflective devotional exercise described in St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises—to the Stations of the Cross. I make it a 15-day exercise (I always add the Resurrection to the 14 Stations), focusing on just one Station a day on my commute home, Monday through Friday. This adds up to a three-week exercise, and it has helped me not only to decompress on the way home but to engage in my relationship with Jesus in new ways. Oh, and to make sure I remember to do this exercise, I set an alarm on my phone as a reminder!

I invite you to do the same. You can approach this reflection at any time in your day, before or after work or dropping off the kids, wherever you are in your life’s journey. Here are five simple steps, derived from the Examen, to help you unlock the Stations of the Cross in a practical, contemplative, and reflective way.

Step 1: Choose a Station. Let’s say we’re focusing on Jesus taking up his Cross. You can read a passage from the Bible that correlates to that scene or simply picture an image in your mind. Then take a few deep breaths and ask God to help you quiet your head and open your heart. Often we only try to focus on getting rid of all the mental chatter inside of us, but it’s also important to place our attention on the waves of emotions and feelings inside us. Something in you might resist focusing—you may feel tired, nervous, or angry, but that’s okay. Allow yourself to find a level of openness that is true to you.

Step 2: Remind yourself that God is all around you. He’s inside you and outside you and his heart beats in yours. Try to feel that reality as best as you can. Then take the picture of Jesus carrying his Cross, and imagine placing the image inside you. Let it take root in you.

Step 3: Ask the Holy Spirit to rise up inside you and give you the wisdom to acknowledge God in your life. Ask the Spirit to help you meditate on the scene inside you. How do you think Jesus felt when this was happening? What was he thinking? What is your cross to bear? How heavy is it? How does it affect your relationship with God?

Step 4: Review your day. Where did your cross feel the heaviest today? Where did you encounter the cross on the shoulders of others at work, on the news, or in the streets? Where is God in these encounters? Ask God to make you more aware and compassionate of others and yourself.

Step 5: Give thanks to God for the opportunity to know Jesus better, and ask God to help you to become more aware of the crosses that everyone carries in life.

Image by Enrique López-Tamayo Bio

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415

Dark Emotions

March 28, 2020

The Dark Emotions

    The opening  words of the of the Eucharistic Prayer, from The Celtic Eucharistic Service  remind us that we are simply a part of creation, and are called to work as equals in the world with all creatures:

“Blessed are you, loving and faithful Creator God. All your works, the heights, the depths, time and space, echo the cosmic hymn of your praise. From the Abyss of Eternity your Silent Word summoned existence: oblivion withdrew and creation dawned. Eons passed as your Love gave birth to untold stars and galaxies, while unseen waters gathered on the face of the deep. By the power of your immanent Spirit, life emerged. 

    In the fullness of time, as your cosmos struggled to become, human kind evolved and the Universe came to self-consciousness, reflecting your own divine image. Flesh-inspirited-flesh, you gave us minds and hearts, breath and voice. . .”

        The earth was born in struggle, we were created, and developed into being who we are through suffering, and our lives are shaped by suffering:

    “Author and Episcopal priest Barbara Taylor Brown invites us to consider the lessons that suffering has to teach us and reminds us that we can only learn when we are willing to stay put instead of turning away.  

[Psychotherapist Miriam] Greenspan says that painful emotions are like the Zen teacher who whacks his students with a flat board right between their shoulder blades when he sees them going to sleep during meditation. If we can learn to tolerate the whack—better yet, to let it wake us up—we may discover the power hidden in the heart of the pain. Though this teaching is central to several of the world’s great religions, it will never have broad appeal, since almost no one wants to go there. Who would stick around to wrestle a dark angel [see Genesis 32:22-31] all night long if there were any chance of escape? The only answer I can think of is this: someone in deep need of blessing; someone willing to limp forever for the blessing that follows the wound.  

What such people stand to discover, Greenspan says, is the close relationship between “individual heartbreak and the brokenheartedness of the world.” [1] While those who are frightened by the primal energy of dark emotions try to avoid them, becoming more and more cut off from the world at large, those who are willing to wrestle with angels break out of their isolation by dirtying their hands with the emotions that rattle them most.  

In this view, the best thing to do when fear has a neck hold on you is to befriend someone who lives in real and constant fear. The best thing to do when you are flattened by despair is to spend time in a community where despair is daily bread. The best thing to do when sadness has your arms twisted behind your back is to sit down with the saddest child you know and say, “Tell me about it. I have all day.” The hardest part about doing any of these things is to do them without insisting that your new teachers make you feel better by acting more cheerful when you are around. After years of being taught that the way to deal with painful emotions is to get rid of them, it can take a lot of reschooling to learn to sit with them instead, finding out from those who feel them what they have learned by sleeping in the wilderness. . . .  

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,” Carl Jung wrote, “but by making the darkness conscious.” [2] Reading this, I realize that in a whole lifetime spent with seekers of enlightenment, I have never once heard anyone speak in hushed tones about the value of endarkenment.  

What a compelling word and question Brown Taylor invites us to consider: endarkenment. What are we learning about ourselves, each other, and even God through these times? What are we only now coming “to know” through this time of not-knowing?” “Fr. Richard Rhor

    It is embracing suffering, the  dark emotions, entering into them, living with them, where God is present. God embraces our brokenness. 

    And in embracing the dark emotions, our suffering we enter into an understanding of  life and of death without fear.  Fr. Henri Nouwen describes living in the fullest sense of the word:

.  . . Jesus saw death, and his own death in particular, as more than a way of getting from one place to another. He saw his death as potentially fruitful in itself, and of enormous benefit to his disciples. Death was not an ending for him but a passage to something much greater.

    “When Jesus was anticipating his own death he kept repeating the same theme to his disciples: “My death is good for you, because my death will bear many fruits beyond my death. When I die I will not leave you alone, but I will send you my Spirit, the Paraclete, the Counselor. And my Spirit will reveal to you who I am, what I am teaching you. My Spirit will lead you into the truth and will allow you to have a relationship with me that was not possible before my death. My Spirit will help you to form community and grow in strength.” Jesus sees that the real fruits of his life will mature after his death. That is why he adds, “It is good for you that I go.”

    If that is true, then the real question for me as I consider my own death is not: how much can I still accomplish before I die, or will I be a burden to others? No, the real question is: how can I live so that my death will be fruitful for others? In other words, how can my death be a gift for my loved ones so that they can reap the fruits of my life after I have died? This question can be answered only if I am first willing to admit Jesus’ vision of death, as a valid possibility for me.

    In entering into our dark emotions, through our suffering, we see Jesus’ vision of death, and are able to let others enter our lives, and in doing so, we bring love, and care for them.Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

punkpriest1@gmail.com

415-305-2124

“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”  -Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Tenderloin Stations of the Cross

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Noon-2:00 p.m.

Polk Street side of City Hall

We will have the Stations of the Cross. Our plans are to do it alone, and have people go through the Stations at home. .

Holy Communion

We have taken Holy Communion to individuals who request the Sacrament. We administer the Sacrament outside, and have plastic gloves on, standing six feet away. We give only use only the host. We take all precautions.

 

They Also Serve

March 25, 2020

“They Also Serve Who Only Stand In Wait!

“They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait.” John Milton

Today When I Can Do Nothing

“Today when I can do nothing,

I saved an ant.

It must have come in with the morning paper,

still being delivered

to those in shelter in place.

A morning paper is still an essential service.

I am not an essential service.

I have coffee and books,

time,

a garden,

silence enough to fill cisterns.

It must have first walked

the morning paper, as if loosened ink

taking the shape of an ant.

Then across the laptop computer—warm-

then onto the back of a cushion.

Small black ant, alone,

Crossing a navy cushion,

moving steadily because that is what it could do.

Set outside in the sun,

it could not have found again its nest.

What then did I save?

It did not move as if it was frightened,

Even while walking my hand,

which moved it through swiftness and air.

Ant, alone, without companions,

whose ant-heart I could not fathom-

how is your life, I wanted to ask.

I lifted it, took it outside.

This first day when I could do nothing,

contribute nothing

beyond staying distant from my own kind,

I did this.”

(Jane Hirshfield’s ninth book of poems, Ledger.

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Today as we enter into a second week of staying at home, with businesses, entertainment venues, and Parks shut down we wonder during our time of being bored,

afraid, and fretful, if we are useful.

    John Milton in his blindness,  found that “They also serve, who only stand and wait,” and Ms. Hirshfield brings home to us that in each opportunity to support any living creature, we are worthwhile, even if it is one ant.

    We also affirm the San Francisco Interfaith Council’s Declaration of condemning the anti-Semitic feeling expressed about the  coronavirus virus. As the coronavirus continues to surge globally, antisemitic, xenophobic, and hateful messages and conspiracy theories are proliferating rapidly online. These messages spread hate and misinformation, making it more difficult to access accurate information while elevating fear and anxiety.     While some of these messages are new, many are simply old tropes repackaged for a modern pandemic–in San Francisco blaming our brother and sister Chinese residents, our brother and sister  undocumented migrants and in other areas our Jewish brothers and sisters.
Let us remember that when we point one finger at another, we are pointing four at ourselves. We are all brothers and sisters.

    During this time the American Red Cross is calling for blood donors. The blood supply is getting low, and blood is needed, so I invite you to join me in giving blood. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!

——————————————————–

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

punkpriest1@gmail.com

415-305-2124

“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”  -Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Tenderloin Stations of the Cross

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Noon-2:00 p.m.

Polk Street side of City Hall

We will have the Stations of the Cross. Our plans are to do it alone, and have people go through the Stations at home. .

Holy Communion

We  take Holy Communion to individuals who request the Sacrament. We administer the Sacrament outside, and have plastic gloves on, standing six feet away. We give only use only wafer, as it contains the whole body of Jesus.

                  

Praying In Faith

March 25, 2020

Praying In Faith-What We Are Meant to Do! And Birthday Reflection.

James 5:13-20

    “Are there any among you suffering? Let them pray. Are any cheerful?  Let them sing psalms. Are any among you sick? They should call the elders of the church, and they they should pray over the sick person, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.  Faithful prayer will rescue the sick person, and the Lord will raise them up. If they have committed any sin, it will be forgiven them. So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another; they they may be healed.

    When the righteous person prays, that person carried great power. Elijah was a man with passions like ours, and he prayed and prayed that it might  not rain–and it did not rain on the  earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

    My dear family, if someone in your company has wandered from the truth, and someone turns them back, know this: the one who turns back a sinner from wandering off into error will rescue that person’s life from death, and cover a multitude of sins.”

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    “Prayer as we know it and talk about it can be very seductive. “Pray that Grandpa gets well,” we tell a child–all the time knowing that the grandfather’s time is already measured. “Pray for a nice day tomorrow,” we say casually, as if the local meteorologist doesn’t already know whether tomorrow it will rain or snow.  “Dear God, please make Tom call, or the letter come, or the red light on the next corner turn green”, we recite with a kind of Christian piety that smacks more of our own desire to run the world than it does to trust the God who entrusted it to us.

    Too often, we use prayers to forgive ourselves for being less that we are meant to be. Too often, “I’m praying for it” means that I don’t intend to do anything else but pray that someone else will do for us what we should do for ourselves.

    But the situation is obvious. There is nothing done humans that humans cannot undo. There is no reason to deny our own responsibility to get it done by foisting it on God. We must get up and do it ourselves.

    The truth is that we must pray for the strength to do what we are meant to do. We must pray for the courage to meet the challenges of life. We must pray for the endurance it will take to go on even when nothing changes. We must pray that the spirit of God is with us as we do what must be done, whether we succeed in the process or not.” Sister Joan Chittister, The Breath of God

    As we conclude the Book of James what are your thoughts on prayer?

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Birthday Reflection

The Prayer to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots is as follows:

“Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life. You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of His children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the Evil One himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands, there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with your Son and my liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot. (Mention your petition here.)

I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, O safe refuge.”

Pope Francis has discovered on his life’s journey, “Mary the Undoer of Knots, and in the last seven years she has journeyed with me as well.  My life is full of knots, and as I struggle daily to undo  these knots Mary is tirelessly working in her efforts in this journey of undoing my knots.

Tomorrow is the day I celebrate my coming into the world. A friends father once told him, “Age is a defining number, never define yourself, live a liminal life, a life with out definition of numbers, and in doing so you will relate to everyone, sustain and respect all of life, and collaborate with everyone.” He worked forty hours a week and died at 99.

    His philosophy has lead me on this journey. And on this day I recommit myself to three vows: relativeness, mutual sustainability, and mutual collaboration.

    Usually I spend this day on Round tree Blvd. in Marin with my friends. This birthday will be spent in  the City because of the order to to remain in our homes.

    My spirit will be with all nine of my friends, my team, remembering the past years of having a party with a birthday cake, hanging with them as they played their games, and arguing as we always do.

    This year I will hang out with my street kids, listen to their fears, give them socks and food–joking about being six inches a part.

    My phone has been turned off this past week in order for me simply to relax.

    Constant snap chat and texts wear me out, and in coming to a new understanding of our new environment and way of living has been exhausting.

    I am content, in an excellent mood, and healthy. I will soon turn my phone on to my ministry of listening through snap chat, and continue to listening to my street kids, feeding them, giving them socks, and so on. I will go to Whole Foods and pick up a decent meal and eat with the spirit of my team around me,and give thanks to God for my life.

    Father Henri Nouwen sums up my feelings on this day, and we invite you to join us in finding hope in his words:

“Again and again you see how Jesus opts for what is small, hidden, and poor, and accordingly declines to wield influence. His many miracles always serve to express his profound compassion with suffering humanity; never are they attempts to call attention to himself. As a rule, he even forbids those he has cured to talk to others about it. And as Jesus’ life continues to unfold, he becomes increasingly aware that he has been called to fulfill his vocation in suffering and death. In all of this, it becomes plain to us that God has willed to show his love for the world by descending more and more deeply into human frailty.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

punkpriest1@gmail.com

415-305-2124

“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”  -Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Tenderloin Stations of the Cross

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Noon-2:00 p.m.

Polk Street side of City Hall

We will have the Stations of the Cross. Our plans are to do it alone, and have people go through the Stations at home. .

Holy Communion

We  take Holy Communion to individuals who request the Sacrament. We administer the Sacrament outside, and have plastic gloves on, standing six feet away. We give only use only wafer, as it contains the whole body of Jesus.

                         

Rich and Suffering

March 22, 2020

Lesson 8—James 5:1-12

THE RICH AND THE SUFFERING

      Many times throughout our  ministry we  have preached and written on this passage. Looking  back we are ashamed. One Sunday, one lady  approached and asked: “I am poor to, I have money, but I am poor in other ways, in a lot of pain, what can you say to me.” Our face turned beet red with embarrassment.    

Frankly we are embarrassed by our manner of looking at this passage, and  apologize to any one that has been offended.

       Today we  are  in our  room, watching  T.V., writing, praying, cooking. Thinking of gifts that we are  buying for the graduations of four  friends, and then  we go out on the street and encounter Shane (not his real name).

      Shane sits in front of the post office panhandling, and we sit down and we talk. He tells us how he is afraid to go to a shelter, to go to the soup kitchens, and sleeps away from people. The epidemic terrifies him. We talk for an hour. Giving him socks, food, and a blanket we leave for  our  warm home, and the questioned raised: Are we  being  hypocritical?  What is the brother of Jesus saying to us?

       

      And  our answer is: that while physical shelter was something that could not be offered in those  moments  we gave him shelter by listening to him as he shared his pain.  When someone listens, we find shelter, for we are allowed to express our feelings, our needs, and most importantly we feel loved. This is our ministry.

      Giving ourselves to others in whatever way we can is the ministry to which we are called: listening, food, clothes, praying with and for them,  and many other ways is all that we are asked to do.

Read the Word: James 5:1-12

“Warning to the Rich

5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.

Patience in Suffering

Be patient, therefore, brothers,[a] until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.”

Let us reflect upon how rich we are.

Let us reflect on the ways we can give back.

Our primary gift is listening, what is yours?

     Mark Van Steenwdk has a ministry in Minneapolis and is very prophetic in his writings. Below is a piece written yesterday for our times:

Reflection: The Story Deepens

“We are all aware, or are becoming aware, that this pandemic is a big deal. But, for me, it is really only now sinking in how much of a bigger deal this will be for our social consciousness than 9/11. Maybe even more significant than WW2, since it is effecting everyone. Every society on earth is having to adjust and respond. And, more than any other event in my lifetime or my father’s lifetime, it is exposing the problems of our society and, perhaps, creating space in our collective capacity to imagine a better world.

The climate crisis is, no doubt, the crisis of the modern era. But this pandemic is a sharper reminder of human fragility, the utter incapacity for us to solve these natural crises within our capitalist framework.

I think this is just the beginning of a much deeper story of our civilization. It is a tipping point that will intensify the various forces already at play in our world. Some nations will go deeper down the path of neofascism. Others will imagine a bolder post-capitalist way forward. New religious movements will emerge. Many will be stuck in the past, hoping things go back to the way they were.

But this is a rupture. A rupture in our constructed realities, exposing what lies underneath. May we discern, together, the movement of the Spirit of Life so that we might create a new, more compassionate world, with one another.

What are you discerning? What new possibilities do you see emerging?”
 

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

punkpriest1@gmail.com

415-305-2124

“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”  -Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Tenderloin Stations of the Cross

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Noon-2:00 p.m.

Polk Street side of City Hall

We will have the Stations of the Cross. Our plans are to do it alone, and have people go through the Stations at home. .

Holy Communion

We have taken Holy Communion to individuals who request the Sacrament. We administer the Sacrament outside, and have plastic gloves on, standing six feet away. We give only use only the host. We take all precautions.

Humility and Faith

March 21, 2020

Session 7: Humility and Faith–James 4:1-17

 

Interpreted With Love

March 20, 2020

Interpreted With Love

    From time to time someone will send us a face book post telling us that “you live in a fantasy world, there is no God, grow up,” and there are the comments about us being careless etc. Honestly one learns more from the negative responses than the positive, they are God speaking to us, raising questions to grapple with and grow in looking at issues from different perspectives. We have learned we live in the gray areas of life, and the only black and white certainty is loving God, and loving our neighbor.

                Today Fr. Richard Rhor summed up for me my journey:

..” There are only two major paths by which the human soul comes to God: the path of great love, and the one of great suffering. Both finally come down to great suffering—because if we love anything greatly, we will eventually suffer for it. When we’re young, God hides this from us. We think it won’t have to be true for us. But to love anything in depth and over the long term, we eventually must suffer. 

The disciples first respond to the Transfigured Christ with fear. In our global time of crisis, this is where many of us are today. The disciples mirror the itinerary of the spiritual journey: we start out with many concerns, fears, and worries. Our minds and hearts are all over the place. But Jesus comes, touches them, and says, “Get up and do not be afraid.” When the three disciples raise their eyes, they see nothing but one image: Jesus. Their lives have become fully focused and simplified on the one thing that is good, the one thing they desire, and the one thing that is necessary. What a moment of grace and encouragement!

” Religious experience has to be experienced firsthand. We can’t believe it because someone else talked about it. Sooner or later, we have to go to our own mountaintop. We have to have our own transfiguration, and we have to walk down the mountaintop into the ordinary world, on the path of suffering, and the path of love—which are, in the end, the same. As we experience a suffering world together, I pray that this community will be drawn to center itself on the cross and bring Jesus’ teaching to life. “

                My religious journey began on the mountain top, and going down the mountain into great suffering, and in that suffering has come a great love for people. And the words of Jesus become  reality more and more each day:

“Which commandment,” he asked,”is the first one of all?” “ The first one” replied Jesus, is this: “ Listenen, Israel: the Lord your God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your understanding, and with all your strength,’ And this is the second one: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:28-311 (The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporay Translation.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”  -Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Tenderloin Stations of the Cross

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Noon-2:00 p.m.

Polk Street side of City Hall

We will have the Stations of the Cross. Our plans are to do it alone, and have people go through the Stations at home. .

Holy Communion

We have taken Holy Communion to individuals who request the Sacrament. We administer the Sacrament outside, and have plastic gloves on, standing six feet away. We give only use only the host. We take all precautions.

Choosing to Trust

March 19, 2020

Choosing to Trust

Matthew 1:16-24 English Standard Version (ESV)

“16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife into his home.”

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Joseph was a man of faith and compassion. Our story tells us of his anger, he first thought of divorcing her, but God in his own way, asked Joseph to trust him, and marry Mary. My guess is that Joseph had his doubts, but he trusted that inner voice, and embraced Mary, and Jesus.

    I had two dad’s. One was my biological dead, Duncan, whom I like who  signed over the papers to my mother granting my adopted dad Wade his new son. My adopted dad had a business, and Duncan understood he was giving me a good life.

    Both dad’s gave me a great gift, Duncan life, and a chance for a good life. Wade loved me, and gave me two gifts–to love people, to give from the bottom of  your heart without expectation of anything in return,  to put your life on the line for another, he gave me compassion and love for others.

    When he died instructions were given that all of his bills for credit to people be destroyed. These bills came from mostly black, poor people, whom he gave credit to so they could eat. Many were year’s old. People would pay $20.00 down or less, all they had, and buy $100.00 on credit at the same time. No one who came to him ever went hungry. Those bills were destroyed. 

    Secondly Wade gave his son faith in God, in Jesus. There have been times on a train, or bus, I pull out my Bible, and at one time,  would look around to see what people were thinking, but Wade read his Bible in public, and began every morning at 5:00 a.m. with prayer and Bible study. He introduced me to the living Jesus. I will be forever grateful both my dad’s. Jesus had two dad’s the first gave him to Joseph to nurture, to care for, and then Jesus returned to him in glory.

    At the heart of both these instances was love, and Fr. Richard Rhor reminds us that:

Love Alone Overcomes Fear 
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Fr. Richard Rhor

 

“It is shocking to think how much the world has changed in such a brief time. Each of us has had our lives and communities disrupted. Of course, I am here in this with you. I feel that I’m in no position to tell you how to feel or how to think, but there are a few things that come to mind I will share.

A few days ago I was encouraged by the Franciscans and by the leadership team here at the CAC to self-quarantine, so I’ve been in my little hermitage now for three or four days. I’ve had years of practice, literally, how to do what we are calling “social distancing.” I have a nice, large yard behind me where there are four huge, beautiful cottonwood trees, and so I walk my dog Opie every few hours.

Right now I’m trying to take in psychologically, spiritually, and personally, what is God trying to say? When I use that phrase, I’m not saying that God causes suffering to teach us good things. But God does use everything, and if God wanted us to experience global solidarity, I can’t think of a better way. We all have access to this suffering, and it bypasses race, gender, religion, and nation. 

We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment. There’s no doubt that this period will be referred to for the rest of our lifetimes. We have a chance to go deep, and to go broad. Globally, we’re in this together. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love. 

But for God to reach us, we have to allow suffering to wound us. Now is no time for an academic solidarity with the world. Real solidarity needs to be felt and suffered. That’s the real meaning of the word “suffer” – to allow someone else’s pain to influence us in a real way. We need to move beyond our own personal feelings and take in the whole. This, I must say, is one of the gifts of television: we can turn it on and see how people in countries other than our own are hurting. What is going to happen to those living in isolated places or for those who don’t have health care? Imagine the fragility of the most marginalized, of people in prisons, the homeless, or even the people performing necessary services, such as ambulance drivers, nurses, and doctors, risking their lives to keep society together? Our feelings of urgency and devastation are not exaggeration: they are responding to the real human situation. We’re not pushing the panic button; we are the panic button. And we have to allow these feelings, and invite God’s presence to hold and sustain us in a time of collective prayer and lament. 

I hope this experience will force our attention outwards to the suffering of the most vulnerable. Love always means going beyond yourself to otherness. It takes two. There has to be the lover and the beloved. We must be stretched to an encounter with otherness, and only then do we know it’s love. This is what we call the subject-subject relationship. Love alone overcomes fear and is the true foundation that lasts (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Gateway to Action & Contemplation:
What word or phrase resonates with or challenges me? What sensations do I notice in my body? What is mine to do?

Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.”

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org