The City on the Hill


The City on the Hill

Independence Day






 ‘”The saving act of Jesus is an act of love of the type which He recommends in the Gospels.”                                                                   -Rev. John L. McKenzie

The Nonviolent Love of the Nonviolent Jesus Christ in the Gospels, is not merely the rejection and condemnation of those forms of violence—usually located in “the other”—that a person feels particularly upset over.

Christ does not just condemn illegal violence for those He has chosen;

He condemns all violence.

Christ does not exclusively condemn illegitimate violence for those He has chosen;

He condemns legitimate violence.

Christ does not simply condemn sordid violence for those He has chosen;

He condemns romantic violence.

Christ does not merely condemn personal violence for those He has chosen;

He condemns social violence.

Christ does not only condemn revolutionary violence for those He has chosen;

He condemns governmental violence.

Christ does not solely condemn external violence for those He has chosen;

He condemns internal violence.

Jesus Christ authorizes no one under any circumstances to substitute violence for love. Still less does He authorize anyone to rename violence love of the type He commands in the Gospels: “I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you.”


Every day we are called to embrace new life, and to leave behind what has become too comfortable. If fear stops us, we risk becoming like the pot-bound plant. The roots have nowhere to go but round and round the pot, eventually strangling and choking the plant.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram“Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, “is a sightless world. If anyone loves me he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him, –we move right into the neighborhood.” John 14:24


I respect and honor our flag.  It stands for the hope of the  “City on the Hill,” where all are equal, where all will be fed, clothed, housed, given health care, and the freedom to live out their lives in peace.

Last night there was a call from an eighteen year old young man, crying because of the shelter he was assigned, there were mice, the bed was dirty, and he was afraid of the people; there is John who sleeps in front of Old First, his eyesight is deteriorating, he has heart failure, and his time is near. John sits all day, watching people walk by, some pitch him a dollar or two, but he has little health care and nowhere to live.

Peace is not an emotion, a feeling, that has no conflict, but one in which we struggle, argue and strive for the well being of ourselves and others, we are in it together.  If we want to move into  “the right neighborhood,” we need to work with others in peace, to struggle with out labeling, to struggle by opening our lives, and sharing of what we have.

The government, will not and can not solve the problems of homelessness and division, all it can do is represent what we tell them to, but if we open our lives to loving people, of sharing until it hurts of what we have, feeding people when we see them hungry, arguing for universal health care, and giving pour resources until all are housed, we in partnership with our government can move into the right neighborhood.

Our sin is universal to all humanity, we fail to take care of each other, and we destroy each other. Each person on the street, each bullet shot, each drone launched, each  biases of race, creed, religion, and social standing we hold tight to  are all signs of our sin of the neglect of all of  creation.

So on  this Fourth of July weekend , let us repent of our sin of neglect, and disunity among ourselves, and come together in appreciation of what our  flag represents, and work with all our might for that “City on the Hill.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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