Archive for July, 2020

Looking at Life Through the Kaleidoscope

July 30, 2020

Looking at Life T’hrough the Kaleidoscope

Through the Kaleidoscope

     One Christmas my parents gave me a kaleidoscope and I was awed by the beautiful colors, that emerged out of what seemed like chaos.

    The beauty of a kaleidoscope can not really be encompassed by rational reduction. So many different perspectives are presented.

    In the same way life is beautiful in all of its beautiful perspectives, and our task is to turn the kaleidoscope, and to keep turning it;  continuing to seek a new perspective and search for what is common among all of those perspectives.

    All of creation, and especially God’s human creation is a kaleidoscope and turning that kaleidoscope is to celebrate diverse, multifaceted ways of perceiving the reality of this unique creation. We learn that no religious or political expression is correct, but forms of human expression, and in those expression beauty is found.

    In looking through the kaleidoscope we see all of the beauty, and the darkness of life, mixed together. For each one of us is neither good nor bad, but a mixture. We are not black and white.

    I was once told in this ministry that I would be standing in the middle of a large rail road track with twenty three trains blinding me, coming straight towards me.

    Those trains come, sometimes daily. But as I pull back I see in the pain that so often results–the glory of the forgiving God. And have learned to do my best (which means I shoot for my bow for the target of goodness, and being non-judgmental  every day, and miss most of the time) to see each of us in that kaleidoscope and to forgive, and see the beauty in each person.

     I spoke to a young man in prison for murder last night, and even though he has gone to the deepest darkness of humanity, the light shines through of a lost, mixed up kid, who really fu.cked up. He may die early as a result, but in him is the light of God.

    The last few weeks I have spent time with people with the corno-virus and people who are in the depths of despair on the street, and through the kaleidoscope one sees their beauty, you love them, love them with all of your heart.

In the midst of it all, here are two truths I’m holding onto—we are deeply loved by a God who is actively at work in this world to make all things new. And, God invites us to actively join him in the work of loving and making things new for our neighbors


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Through the Kaleidoscope

July 29, 2020

Through the Kaleidoscope

O God, listen to my cry!

Hear my prayer!

From the ends of the earth,

I cry to you for help

when my heart is overwhelmed.

Lead me to the towering rock of safety.

Psam 61:1-2

“I wait quietly before God,

for my victory comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress where I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-3


        Bishop James E. Walsh on July 10, 1970, a frail and elderly man left the company of the Red Guards and walked across the bridge linking mainland China and the Island of Hong Kong. After twelve years in prison, Bishop James Walsh, the last foreign missionary in Communist China was on his way home.

    When asked why he had not left when the communists took over China he replied: “If we start to pick and choose for ourselves, it is very hard to tell if we are carrying our vocation or running away from it.”

    From time to time in the past twenty six years  someone will ask:”When do you think you will move on?” The reality is like Walsh we have known that if we choose for ourselves than “it is very hard to tell if we are carrying our vocation or running away from it.”  We stray put!

    As a result our life has a part of  a great kaleidoscope expanding in various hues and colors. We have encountered people of all walks of life, creeds, and races, allowing us to see God explode as a kaleidoscope of many religious beliefs,ways of living, and viewing life not as black and white, but many different colors from the darkness of evil to the whiteness of goodness.

    We are in a time of dark hues in that kaleidoscope, and as of Monday there were 233, 517 total cases in California, 6,022  cases in San Francisco, and 56 deaths in San Francisco from the cova-19 virus. These are numbers, from which when we look through and see  the people they encompass we see extreme suffering, and a recovery which appears to be debilitating.

    Darkness over shadows people fearing losing their housing, and people on the street who have little access to food and support. Our soup kitchens are centered in the main part of town, so many are scattered throughout the City, with little food.

    Light comes into play as we witness people from the various religions, the various reflections of the kaleidoscope of God walking on the street, volunteering where they can in service to those in need.

    It has been along time since we have viewed God as a God of judgment, a God who counts all of our “sins”; it has been along time since we have seen “Jesus as the Way! For God created all of us human beings in this great kaleidoscope where the only thing that God calls for us to have in common is to love one another, and in so doing love him.

    Our friend and past professor at Knox Theological Seminary, Dr. Jonathan Linebaugh gave an example of the final judgment which reflects this great Kaleidoscope

    The final judgment will be like a great therapy session where we will all be gathered and for ever how long it takes God will work with us until we can all come out loving each other, leaving behind all of the luggage we have carried throughout out lives.

    We are all a part of a great Kaleidoscope-let us lift our eyes and enjoy the beauty!

Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O.Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Courage to Leap Into Darkness

July 27, 2020

Courange to Leap Into Darkness


Matthew 13:31-35 NLT

31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Parable of the Yeast

33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

34 Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. 35 This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet:

    In Stephen King’s movie “The Mist,” horrifying monsters prowl a dense fog that descends on a town in Maine. A few survivors hunker down in a grocery store which they fortify in an attempt to keep the beasts out. When a mother demands to leave so she can rescue her children, the protagonist, a father, argues that going outside is certain death. The woman goes anyway. After the creatures begin to breach their barricades, the father, his son, and two others escape in a car. Some  time later, they run out of gas while their vehicle is butted by abominations, some gigantic, all grotesque. One of the car’s occupants has a pistol with three bullets and, after glimpsing one particularly nasty creature, everyone agrees that a shot in the head is more merciful than what the monsters would do to them. The father kills his son. Two others kill themselves, and then to the father’s shock, the fog lifts, a relief column of trunks drives by and he sees the mother with her children on back of one of them. If the father had only waited three more minutes, his son and companions would have been saved, but how could he know?
    The spiritual truth about profound risk taking is that we never know. Even Jesus sweats blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, because letting himself be crucified seems an excruciating dead end.
    In the early 1970’s Leonard Bernstein composed a dramatic oratorio, Mass, for the inauguration of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the work begins with the main figure the Celebrant, preparing for the liturgy with a prayer that cries out for something unexpected: simplicity. “Sings God a simple song. . .God loves all simple things. For God is the simplest of all.”
    God is simple in that all he requires of us is to love our fellow human beings, and in so doing we love God. The courage to really care for one another without judgment is a leap into darkness.
    Fr. Henri Nouwen sums it up:
“Underneath all our emphasis on successful action, many of us suffer from a deep-seated, low self-esteem. . . . And so our actions become more an expression of fear than of inner freedom. . . .
As we keep our eyes directed at the One who says, ‘‘Do not be afraid,” we may slowly let go of our fear. We will learn to live in a world without zealously defended borders. We will be free to see the suffering of other people, free to respond not with defensiveness, but with compassion, with peace, with ourselves.======================
Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,, D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164

Walking Through Gotham City

July 25, 2020

Walking Through Gotham City

2 Corinthians 4:7-15

New Living Translation

“7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[a] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”[b] 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus,[c] will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.”

In Service We Encounter God
“Radical servant hood does not make sense unless we introduce a new level of understanding and see it as the way to encounter God. To be humble and persecuted cannot be desired unless we can find God in humility and persecution. When we begin to see God, the source of all our comfort and consolation, in the center of servanthood, compassion becomes much more than doing good for unfortunate people. Radical servanthood, as the encounter with the compassionate God, takes us beyond the distinctions between wealth and poverty, success and failure, fortune and bad luck. Radical servanthood is not an enterprise in which we try to surround ourselves with as much misery as possible, but a joyful way of life in which our eyes are opened to the vision of the true God who chose to be revealed in servant hood. The poor are called blessed not because poverty is good, but because theirs is the kingdom of heaven; the mourners are called blessed not because mourning is good, but because they shall be comforted.Here we are touching the profound spiritual truth that service is an expression of the search for God and not just of the desire to bring about individual or social change.” Father Henri Nouwen
    Late last night, and early this morning in the darkness, and grayness of the City, as I walk through the streets I am reminded of Batman’s Gotham City.
    Businesses are closed, their windows boarded up, and the workers in the one’s open are own edge.
    There are all variation of people on the street–the housed, homeless, and mentally ill, most wear masks, but all seem distant and in another world. They are nervous and afraid.
    Mayor Breed and the Governor seem to issue endless orders on staying in, businesses that are closed, and ones that can be opened. Seems like Big Brother is over us and around us.
    San Francisco feels like one of the ghost towns near Palm Springs where John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and others made movies so long ago.
    Theresa of Lisieux wrote: “But I want to seek the means of going to heaven by a littleway that is very straight, very short, a completely new little way.”
    Today in the uncertainty of these times seeking the little way brings light in the darkness, as we love and care for each other.
    For me each person I feed, give socks to, visit in the hospital, hang out with, listen to is the little way and brings meaning and hope  to my life. It keeps me going simply walking the little way.
    And the words of Paul sums up my hope, and my prayer for  each person who walks the little way:
We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus,[c] will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
    Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.
P.O Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164

Mary Madalene: Woman of Shadows

July 24, 2020

Mary Magdalene: Woman of Shadows

Diarmuid Ó Murchú is an Irish poet, author, friend, and member of the Sacred Heart Community. This poem highlights the presence of Mary Magdalene and the women at Jesus’ death and resurrection and invites us to question why we have not honored their role more fully. Poetry is so much better heard than simply read, so for full effect, read these words aloud, perhaps several times.

What happened [to] the women on the first Easter Day
Breaks open a daring horizon,
Inviting all hearts to discern.
Mid the grieving and trauma of loss,
The horror to stand at the foot of a Cross.
A body we think was buried in haste,
And a tomb that was empty but restless in taste.
Empowering a strange group of women. [stanza 2]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What happened to those on the first Day of Easter,
The faithful disciples by Magdalene led?
A subverted truth the patriarchs dread.
Beyond all the theories that time has construed,
Beyond the oppression we have too long endured.
The first ones commissioned for Easter proclaim
A woman-led mission we’ve brutally maimed.
But we can’t keep subverting empowerment. [stanza 5]

Resurrection still flourishes and always it will,
Imbued with a truth that time will fulfil.
What women empowered at the dawning breakthrough
will bear fruit in season
despite all the treason.
’Cos justice will render what deserves to endure. [stanza 6] [1]


Father Richard Rhor gives a good summary of the person of Mary Magdalene:

“One of the lessons we might learn from the Gospel stories of Mary Magdalene is that, in the great economy of grace, all is used and transformed. Nothing is wasted. God uses our egoic desires and identities and leads us beyond them. Jesus’ clear message to his beloved Mary Magdalene in their first post-resurrection encounter is not that she squelch, deny, or destroy her human love for him. He is much more subtle than that. He just says to her “Do not cling to me” (John 20:17). He is saying “Don’t hold on to the past, what you think you need or deserve. We are all heading for something much bigger and much better, Mary.” This is the spiritual art of detachment, which is not taught much in the capitalistic worldview where clinging and possessing are not just the norm but even the goal. “

A second lesson we might learn from Mary Magdalene is that of “listening,” for in all portrayals of her in the New Testament she is simply present. The art of listening is especially available during this time of “Staying in Place”, and it is difficult to be with ourselves. for as we look back at our lives we see our “sins”.

    There has been on Facebook a couple of items listing behaviors that most people do through  the years–behaviors that are not flattering–it has never failed for me to check all of them LOL.  And there are many more, many more. We are all sinners, all sinners.

    I am well aware of things I have done, and well aware there will be others. I strive to live in the present, take them and examine and move on. We need to stop holding the wrongs of others under a microscope and look at ourselves.

    During a time of great pain many years ago when he was a young priest, the new Roman Catholic Bishop of Iowa wrote these words to me in response to a note congratulating him:

“Thank you for remembering me on my ordination as Bishop after so many years. I remember well our conversations at Sacred Heart in. …and simply tried to be a brother in Christ to another hurting brother–something  that you made a full time ministry of for so very many years in San Francisco”.

    Bill knew I was a prostitute, and all that went with that occupation, and in  his ministry I found Christ again and was born a new.

    Bill gave  the greatest compliment ever given me: that ministry  is being a “brother to others.” And it is dangerous and risky at times, but during these many years, meaningful and rewarding. There are no regrets.

       Maria EJ Zuhari quotes a friend in these words:

“Most white people have reached a point where they are blind to their privilege because they were born into institutional racism. (my words)– homophobia, sexism, and all that put down others.”

    We can tear down statues, and carry signs, but until we have “a revolution of the heart”, as Dorothy Day once said, we will not change. For Zuhari’s friend  is absolutely correct in her assessment.

    I look at my actions every day, and the past, and remember, that in Jesus we are offered new life, and come to him without judging others.

    That  is what Mary Magdalene offered as the “first apostle,” the”first priest” as she stood strong, and steady at the tomb of Jesus–our hope of a new life in Christ. Deo
Gratias! Thanks be to God!”


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos. org

The Field of the Heart

July 20, 2020

The Field of the Heart

“You have been told, O human one, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right, to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your Lord! Micah 6:8

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10


    Elizabeth Cady Stanton called on the church to stop using scripture to justify the oppression of women;

    Amelia Bloomer was an active abolitionist and temperance advocate who sought freedom for women to use their minds and bodies; 

    Sojourner Truth escaped slavery with the help of Quaker friends, and as a powerful orator on women’s rights she preached on street corners, noticing and advocating for the poor; 

     Harriet Rose Tubman, escaped slavery and answered God’s call to help others gain freedom.

    We see very few statues of these four powerful women being displayed, in fact we see very few statues of women.

    These four women exemplify the core of the Gospel–love of neighbor, they put their love of God in action through loving their neighbor at the risk of their own lives.

    They exemplify the living reality of the Church, a Church that lives outside the walls of its smells and bells suffering for humanity.

    These four women were not “trained”, for their missions, they answered the call. And their summons to us is to answer the call of:

    -feeding the hungry–there is now an estimate of 2 in 4 people going hungry in the Bay Area–one of the wealthiest areas of the country–feed people. Give food each time you leave your house.

    -provide housing–more people are homeless, more people are on the edge of being homeless–if you have a spare room, use it; advocate with the government to loosen  their restrictions and get people in housing.

    -Use the telephone–call one person a day. I received a phone call from a lady yesterday, first call received in months, that I did not make–it was the most rewarding and meaningful moment of my day. Snap chat, texting, fine and good, but ultimately sucks. Become involved in the lives of people.
 Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, Lutheran pastor and author offered this reflection recently:
“I do not know when we can gather together again in worship, Lord.
So, for now I just ask that:When I sing along in my kitchen to each song on Stevie Wonder’s Songs in The Key of Life Album, that it be counted as praise. (Happy 70thBirthday, SW!)And that when I read the news and my heart tightens in my chest, may it be counted as a Kyrie. And that when my eyes brighten in a smile behind my mask as I thank the cashier may it be counted as passing the peace.And that when I water my plants and wash my dishes and take a shower may it be counted as remembering my baptism.And that when the tears come and my shoulders shake and my breathing falters, may it be counted as prayer.And that when I stumble upon a Tabitha Brown video and hear her grace and love of you may it be counted as a hearing a homily.And that as I sit at that table in my apartment, and eat one more homemade meal, slowly, joyfully, with nothing else demanding my time or attention, may it be counted as communion.Amen.-Nadia Bolz-Weber”
Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164

The Certainty of Death

July 17, 2020


Let your love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. .”If your enemies are hungry feed them; if they are thirsty give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9, 20-21


“Life is not to be neat, tidy, well put together,

but an adventure to be lived wildly,

so that when we slide into home base at the end we will be saying, “What a ride! What a ride! E.W.Bartley, Jr.


“Seek the truth for yourself and I will meet  you there.”

    I remember a rainy Spring night in rural Missouri, on a gravel road, returning home with my “bro”, and his friend in the car. It was dark, and we slid, and the car turn over in the ditch, and as I dragged myself out of the car my “bro’s” bloody face came in view, his body crushed to death.

    That was the most transformational moment in my life. For in the months to come full blown depression would over take me, dreams of the accident haunted me. And in one dream, sitting with him, I said, “I am really sorry that you died,” and he said something like “Why do you care that I’m dead when you’re still afraid to live?” I woke up crying.

    I began to live, to in a manner of speaking “racing cars”, by throwing off the safety net of fitting in, and through being kicked out of the church, years on the street, and all that has followed since, death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured.

    For me what matters is sharing the love of Jesus Christ knowing that there is no promise beyond the certainty of death, but that that love transcends all fear, and gives new life.

    Without death, everything would feel in consequential, all experience arbitrary, and all values zero.

    Today I had tests run seeing if I might have cancer, waiting the results I am shaky, but not afraid, for death is a reality;  new studies are showing that the virus forms in such away that it may be impossible in developing a vaccine; the infection rate is rising; and people are afraid, and in that fear acting out. Death is a certainty in all things. We need to face it.

    Ernest Becker tells us that the “terror of death” underlies everything that we do. We have “immortality projects” ie building cities, creating religions, etc, to keep us alive after death. We fight wars over these projects. Our immortality projects are our values, and when they fail so do we psychologically speaking.

    Rather than seek to project our self in these projects in lethal ways we should become comfortable with our own death, and choose values that are free, open to caring for each other and all of creation.

    Death is the only thing we can know with any certainty. And it is the compass by which we orient our values and decisions.

    The lesson I began  learning  that Spring night was that there is nothing to be afraid of. And through the years as I have come to the conclusion that the more I peer into the darkness, the brighter life gets, the quieter the world becomes, and the less unconscious resistance I feel toward to well, anything.

    And I have learned in walking with people to tell them, “Seek the truth for yourself and I will meet you there.” We all must make this journey alone, but it helps to have someone to walk with us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

In New Light

July 15, 2020

In the New Light!

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stanger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me.” Matthew 25:34-36


in the new light

of each day’s questions,

I am never prepared.

Today, again I have nothing

to offer but a handful

of old prayers, worn down

b;y the relentless abrasion

of doubt, and a fragment

of dream that plays on in my head

only half remembered. Still,

the dove coo and circle

through the pines

as they do when I pass

each morning. Their sorrow

in so nearly human, it rings

sweet with regret. By dusk,

the trees will bow down, and I too, will

make my appeal, will find

again your mercy,

your solace. “

(Elizabeth Drescher)

    People are afraid, people are lonely, and more people are going hungry today than three months ago.  There are riots, uprisings, protests, and one  can not open their mouth without criticism or condemnation. The old supports are torn a part: church, school, Boy Scouts, and no one trusts.

    As we come to the end of our  journey and look back over my life, I ask myself the question: “Is what others have told me all these years the truth: “You are a failure, you are not effective, you should never have been a priest?” That has been told time after time, as we have in our stubbornness persisted on our journey.

    Yesterday afternoon, sitting at Toast enjoying a burrito, ice tea, the sun, and watching people, a young black man approached. Suddenly people got up from their tables and left, others crossed the street. He was wearing dirty socks, no shoes, and his shirt was torn. He came near and asked, “Can you buy me some food?”

    I asked him to sit down, ordered food, ran to the church and picked up some socks, a shirt, a pair of shoes, returned and sat down. We talked as he ate, and finally he reached his out his fist  and we tagged one anothe,  made the sign of the cross over him, and he left.

    Every thing made sense in those moments,

By dusk,

the trees will bow down, and I too, will

make my appeal, will find

again your mercy,

your solace. “


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Letting Go

July 14, 2020


“Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. . .” Matthew 11:20-24

“Emotional exhaustion follows fast on the footsteps of physical and mental depletion. I feel my lifeblood draining away in an oily spigot of inner turmoil. Questions abound and personal survival hinges upon sorting through possible solutions and selecting the most fitting answers. Is my pain real or simply an illusion of a frustrated ego? What do I believe in? What is my purpose? I aspire to discover a means to live in congruence with the trinity of the mind, body, and spirit. Can I discover a noble path that frees me from the shallowness of decadent physical and emotional desires? Can I surrender any desire to seek fame and fortune? Can I terminate a craving to punish other persons for their perceived wrongs? Can I recognize that forgiving persons whom offended me is a self-initiated, transformative act? Can I conquer an irrational fear of the future? Can I accept the inevitable chaos that accompanies life? Can I find a means to achieve inner harmony by steadfastly resolving to live in the moment free of angst? Can I purge egotisms that mar an equitable perception of life by renunciation of the self and all worldly endeavors? Can I live a harmonious existence devoid the panache of vanities?”
― Kilroy J. Oldster,
Dead Toad Scrolls


    It sounds like Jesus was on the edge of burn out in the our lectionary reading for today. He had spent three years preaching, teaching, and healing, and to what end?

    As Jesus reflected on the past where God had sent all of the prophets to call people back to wholeness,  there was one result, failure. Jesus was experiencing  emotional burnout.

    And then as Jesus moved into the remainder of his ministry, and finally entered into his passion  he had to let go, simply let go, be present, listen, and let God be in control.

    In our very midst people are suffering immensely, they are scared to death. We can fight by ignoring the situation, or being angry, resentful, or   simply letting go and  embrace our present situation, and take care of one another, whether we are six feet a part, or simply on the phone.

    The Supreme Court has just open the way for federal executions, people are afraid and suffering on our streets, our hospitals, and in our homes.

    My choice, and believe me, I am working at it and failing every day is to take Oldster’s comments into my heart, and to remember the story of the two knights who every morning arise from sleep eat an excellent breakfast, and then go into battle together. When one loses they shake each other’s hands, eat dinner, and say, “We will fight again tomorrow brother, may the best man find victory, and sit down around a campfire, and enjoy each other’s company.”

    Let us put aside our hatreds, prejudices and biases, and see one another as brothers and sisters, and each day fight our fights, but shake hands, and go to bed in peace. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Seeing Beyond the Shadows

July 13, 2020

Seeing Beyond the Shadows!

Joshua 2:1: “Then Joshua, son of Nun, sent two men secretly from Shittan as spies, saying, “God, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and spent the night there.”

    Rhab was a prostitute–the lowest of the lowest in society–and yet in her concern for her family and compassion for strangers she is compelled to take action for the safety of those she knows. Matthew recounts her among the ancestors of Jesus.

    Rhab story reminds all of us that we have the capacity for goodness. She reminds us to see others as FULL people–out of the shadows, worthy of dignity, not measured by whether or not society sees them as such.

    We received a call at 2 a.m. last night, a 19 year old had no food, his blanket was stolen, and he was afraid. This 19 year old has cursed me, called me every name in the book–simply because of his own abuse by a priest. Last night he came out of the shadows in his need and allowed himself to see me and I him  as FULL PEOPLE.

    Dorothy Day once said, “we live in a dirty rotten system,” and “We need a revolution of the heart.”

    The greatest blessing of my life has been being a prostitute, living on the streets, because I came to see the way in which the those on the bottom of society were treated. We became a part of that bottom–and we are well aware we walk on the edge of becoming a part of that bottom again.

    We lose our  housing, become ill either physically or mentally, we become a part of the nameless homeless. People simply walk away. I have seen that a thousand times. None of us are immune to that possibility.

    We take no political sides, we see all sides as children of God, regardless of belief, race, creed, color, and sexual orientation.

    For as we look around us we see thousands without food, medical care, housing, and the division of our society, enforces those problems.

    So we will not argue politics until all are fed, clothed, and housed, and it will take a village to do that, a village of which we are all a part of. A village that puts aside its divisions and sees all people regardless of race, creed, color etc, as deserving of the right to live full lives. A village that works together, despite its differences for the welfare of all.

    Fr. Henri Nouwen gives a description of his experience, not as good as Rahab’s, whose experience outweighs Henri’s”

Creative Reciprocity
“We who want to bring about change have first of all to learn to be changed by those whom we want to help. This, of course, is exceptionally difficult for those who are undergoing their first exposure to an area of distress. They see poor houses, hungry people, dirty streets; they hear people cry in pain without medical care, they smell unwashed bodies, and in general are overwhelmed by the misery that is all around them. But none of us will be able to really give if he has not discovered that what he gives is only a small thing compared to what we have received. When Jesus says: “Happy the poor, the hungry, and the weeping” (Luke 6:21), we have to be able to see that happiness. When Jesus says: “What you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me” (Matthew 25:40), he is addressing to us a direct invitation not only to help but also to discover the beauty of God in those who are to be helped. As long as we see only distasteful poverty, we are not really entitled to give. When, however, we find people who have truly devoted themselves to work in the slums and the ghettos and who feel that their vocation is to be of service there, we find that they have discovered that in the smiles of the children, the hospitality of the people; the expressions they use, the stories they tell, the wisdom they show, the goods they share; there is hidden so much richness and beauty, so much affection and human warmth, that the work they are doing is only a small return for what they have already received. Henri Nouwen”
Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164