Little by Little

The Feast of St. Francis

Little by Little

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“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Ephesians 2:13-16

There were two incidents in my childhood which  have guided my life.  They transformed my life.

One evening at sunset when  I was six, my family and I were driving through Sequoia  Park in Southern California,   on the edge of the road we viewed a  person sitting, looking worn out. My dad finding  him homeless, took the gentleman  to a nearby motel and paid for his room,  and the second was in Memphis when I was nine, we were coming out of a down town hotel, and another homeless person approached my dad for money. Again my dad fed her.

These two incidents haunted me as I attended seminary,  ordained, and served middle class churches; and suddenly  I found myself on the streets, because of being “intrinsically evil” as the Church described being queer, and  in that journey encountered St. Francis, and Dorothy Day,  both of them seeped into my very being, their words of living a life of simplicity, seeing everyone as equals, without reference to any of our man made guidelines, respect for nature, and of living with  those who have so little.

My  call to ministry  began at six in Sequoia Park,   I was reminded of that call at nine in Memphis, and at twelve, the call was confirmed in the warming of my heart at camp, and through the years since each day little by little am  reminded  that being a priest is “being a keeper of the mysteries”, not about prestige, nice clothes, but about little by little moving into the presence of God. It is not a job, but  at the heart of who I am, shaped by God from birth.

To me being a priest means to walk with people where they are, to suffer with them, and to remind them of the God who loves them for who they are, and for no matter what they do. It means getting my hands dirty and not worrying about my reputation. Reputation, praise, being known, comes and goes, but in the words of a friend “There is no integrity in compromise.”

For in my journey we have learned the meaning of the unknown author:

“The street transforms every ordinary day into a series of quick questions and every incorrect answer risks a beat down, shooting or pregnancy.”

This is where the ministry of Temenos Catholic Worker walks, and this is where our ministry lives and breathes. There are risks, beat downs, pain, but in all of it there is so much joy and fulfillment.

St. Francis taught that Christmas was our primary holiday because when Jesus was born, the incarnation became one with humanity, the poorest of the poorest, and Easter was the triumph of his humanity in that through his suffering he walked with humanity to his fullest. Little by little Jesus showed us the glory of God’s love. Jesus knows what it is to be homeless, because he was homeless,  he knows what it is to hurt, and to suffer, and to die, because he has had  those experiences. Jesus walks with us in people like Dorothy, Francis, and all who touch the lives of people without judgment.

On this Feast Day of St. Francis, we came to San Francisco, and handed out our first piece of piazza, which has now become thousands, and we continue to walk little by little, and our prayer is that we can become as Dorothy, and Francis, and that we can become like the “Velveteen Rabbit”, torn, worn out, as we give our lives to people.

“Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, world without end, as it is now and forever shall be. Amen.”

Witness

“Saint Francis freely gave himself – all that he had and all that he was – to God, asking only to be an instrument of God’s peace in the world. He wanted nothing for himself, all for God. Never have we seen such devotion, never have we witnessed such profound joy, never have we been touched by so deep a love.We recall him with thanksgiving today, and ask God for the grace to be shining lights to our own generation, as Francis was to his”

-Br. David Vryhof

“Your true identity is as a child of God. This is the identity you have to accept. Once you have claimed it and settled in it, you can live in a world that gives you much joy as well as pain. You can receive the praise as well as the blame that comes to you as an opportunity for strengthening your basic identity, because the identity that makes you free is anchored beyond all human praise and blame. You belong to God, and it is as a child of God that you are sent into the world.” Fr. Henri Nouwen Father Henri Nouwen

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Home Coming-Twenty Fifth Anniversary Celebration of the Ministry of Temenos Worker and   Father River Damien Sims

Saturday, October 6, 2019

6:30 p.m.

Celebration of Holy Communion-Open to all–Saints and Sinners–most especially Sinners (Non-Alcoholic Wine/Gluten Free Wafers)

Followed by a Banquet of

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham

Southern Green Beans

Sweet Potato Casserole

Memphis Style Coleslaw

Punch

Dessert

Sara Solis, Daughter of Sue Haines who is the author of ARE YOU SUSAN? will give a short presentation

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Auction of an autographed copy of Sister Helen Prejean’s new book: River of Fire to be held through December 15.

If you would like to make a bid of no less than $50.00 please email or text us.

Money to go to the St. Luke’s Episcopal Discretionary Fund, which provides for people in need who come to their door.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

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