Rich and Suffering

Lesson 8—James 5:1-12


      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


“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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: