Love

Love One  Another All The Way!

Gospel Jn 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you:  love one another.”

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In 1948, the author Camus addressed Christians at a Dominican monastery. He had a complaint and a yearning. It seemed to him that as the preparations for war (World War II) were undertaken, as the bloody toll of victims grew, as a fear spread, the church remains unconscionably silent or spoke only in the abstract and obtuse style. He, by turn, was candid and blunt:

“For a long time during these frightful years I waited for a great voice to speak up in (the Church), I an unbeliever? Precisely. For I knew that the spirit would be lost if it did not utter a cry of condemnation when faced with force. ..What the world expects of Christians is that Christians should speak out, loud and clear and that they should voice their condemnation in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could arise in the heart of the simplest person. That they should get away from abstraction and confront the blood-stained face history has taken on today. The grouping we need is a grouping of people resolved to speak out clearly and to pay up personally.”

These words are as true today, as they were during the 1940s, the Church (all churches, the Universal Church) remains silent. Around our church buildings lie people sleeping, and their doors are shut to them at night; the Church says very little to the government; the rich grow richer, and the poor grow poorer, and where is the voice of the Church?

I have been asked, “Why do you still love the Church?” LOL! Great question. I wonder that myself! I have been mistreated, hounded, and severely hurt by the institutional Church. Dorothy Day once said: “The Church is both a whore, and our mother.”

Dorothy recognized that the Church is a group of human beings and through her brokenness, Christ shines, even at the worst of times. My experience with the Church both personally, and professionally is more negative than positive, but the Church taught me the Scriptures, the tradition, and also about using reason and experience to steer through those things within the Church that condemn and hate; Most importantly through the Church, I have learned that we are to learn to “love one another.”

Through the years I see the love of Christ given to those in most need through others, and they are the Church, whether they are believers or not.

So rather than condemn the Church, whether you are a believer or not, be the Church, be the Body of Christ opening doors of  buildings for the homeless, criticizing the government for the wars we are always involved in.

With the recent massacre in Buffalo what comes to my spirit is much sadness that racism and hatred continue; And that we who call ourselves the Church need to step up and put our lives on the line in our interactions.

We need to let down the barriers we put up in communicating with people, and reach out and love others; on my body, I bear the marks of that communication, sometimes it is painful, but it brings such new life to us when we do. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

The Word of God Remains Forever
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). The Word of God is powerful indeed. Not only the Jesus Prayer but many words from the Scriptures can reshape the inner self. When I take the words that strike me during a service into the day and slowly repeat them while reading or working, more or less chewing on them, they create new life. Sometimes when I wake up during the night I am still saying them, and they become like wings carrying me above the moods and turbulences of the days and weeks. Fr. Henri Nouwen

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