God Stays With Us!

God Stays With Us!

Luke 11:1-13

The Message

Ask for What You Need

11 One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”

2-4 So he said, “When you pray, say,

Reveal who you are.
Set the world right.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”

5-6 Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’

“The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’

“But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.

“Here’s what I’m saying:

Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.

10-13 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?

Yesterday afternoon on Haight I ran into Reddick, who is 11,  (not his real name) and was in a group of homeless people. And as I handed out different items, he asked:  “None of this has been dosed has it?” (LOL), meaning injected with LSD, mushrooms, or another drug. I smiled and said, “No,” and I shared the time I was “dosed” and had to go to the hospital.

His mom, whom I have known for several years, asked me to take him for something to eat since he had not eaten all day. We crossed the street to have pizza and shared our “war stories”. He had had many, and in looking back to when I was eleven, thought “you are old,” for my childhood was playing games. Reddick’s mom was born, raised, and prefers to live on the streets. “Flower Girl,” sees herself as a “gypsy”, moving from place to place, living outside.

Continuing down the street, sitting alone, was an older man, as I handed him a pair of socks and food, he rose up and pushed me against a car, hitting me in the chest several times. I simply pushed him back and in the words of Jesus, “shaking the dust off my feet”.

It has been suggested by friends it is time for me to remove myself from “A violent environment with violent people.” And the question I raise, is “Where might that be?”  My shoulder was broken by a wealthy person in Marin. He always carries a huge stick for his “protection”, saying it was an accident. I have been threatened by more people who are housed, than unhoused.  There is violence in all areas of the City. No one is safe from violence. I have more true friends who are the poorest of the poor than otherwise.

There is a quote from the series Bluebloods” that carries meaning for me “Down these mean streets a man must go who himself is not mean, tarnished or afraid.”

The streets have given me three gifts: learning to live in the moment, and secondly, seeing success in caring for each person I come in contact with.

I really do not know if our earth, let alone our civilization will survive this century. Considering the ignoring of climate change, the divisions of people, and the continuing growth of poverty there is reason to wonder.  But what is important to me is not if our world will survive or not but if we can continue to live with hope, and trust in the promise of God to stay with us at all times. He is the God of the living.  Jesus has overcome evil and death and his love and compassion are stronger than any form of death or destruction. That is why I feel that we should continually avoid the temptation of fear, and despair and deepen our awareness that God is present in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us and that presence allows us to live in joy. How do I know: Simply because that trust has saved my ass, many times, and is my ultimate hope and joy!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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