How Do You Know God?

How Do You Know God?

Session 5: Faith and Works–James 2:14-26-Book of James

“But mercy triumphs over judgment. . .In the same way faith, all by itself and without works is dead.” (James 2: 13, 17).

“They came to Jesus; and there they saw the man who had been demon possessed, who had the “legion”, seated, clothed, and stone sober. They were afraid.”

    People often ask me “How can you have such strong faith? “How can you believe?” Or  the question for all of us “How do we know Jesus?”

    This morning I gave a blanket, food, socks, to Gary sleeping outside my door–in that moment I viewed the face of Christ;

    I have seen Jesus in the face of the man who many years ago tried to kill me, infected me with malaria, long gone, and as he lay dying ask for forgiveness–in those moments was Jesus;

    I see Jesus in each person I hang out with in the rain, giving them  food, etc;

    I see Jesus in the faces of my two friends named Matt, Aaron, Brandon, Cale, Chase, Jessica, Karen, Cynthia, and  Anthony, for they have walked with me in the good times, and the bad times of illness–never wavering; and I see Jesus in the photo of the note given on the blanket I gave  this morning from a young person in a local school saying “You are an important person;” and I see Jesus in those of you who give money, so that you might walk with us in our ministry. “Faith without works is dead.”

  

    Teresa of Avila wrote:

“We cannot know whether we love God although there may be strong reason for thinking so, but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbor or not. Be sure that, in proportion as you advance in affection for sisters and brothers, you are increasing your love of God.”

    In the famous prayer known as the Suscipe:

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,my memory,

my understanding,and my entire will. All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.

Give me only your love and your grace,that is enough for me.

St. Ignatius begins with the line, “Take, O Lord, and receive. . .my memory.” I once found this is a curious beginning to a prayer, but now I understand it to mean that we hope God will transform the self understanding we have gained over our lives so that we remember ourselves differently. For by giving our memory to God, we release our hold on the limited self-image or “reputation” we have built and enter freely into loving service to the world. My past no longer limits me; I am here to serve, to wash the feet of others.

    As you reflect on the passage from  James pay attention to what feelings stir in you? And look at the Gospel for the day, and ask yourself the questions: Are you surprised? Overjoyed? Angry? Frustrated? Be honest and note these stirrings in a journal, and bring them into prayer. Which stories, verses are staying with you during the day? Return in prayer to a story that elicits the strongest feelings from you?, and ask God how you are to understand it in the concrete situation of your life right now. Write about your experience. Take a look at the past week, the past month when you gave direct service to a person. Take note of the feelings that such service elicits good or bad. Remember that not all service is wholly good.

    Personally I know that my friends on the street, my housed friends can take advantage of my service and manipulate me.  What does our seeking the good in service really demand, as we remember that “Faith without works is dead.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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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

415-305-2124

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19th Annual Tenderloin Stations of the Cross

Friday, April 10, 2020

City Hall, Polk Street side

Noon-2:00 p.m.

Rubber Gloves, hand sanitizer, and masks will be available.

If you want to volunteer please contact us.

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