Be Kind!



Matthew 24:36-44

“The Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Advent reminds us that accountability (this is what the second coming represents) will be unexpected. It might be the cosmic intervention or it might just be the passing from this life into the next. Either way, the point is simple: Life is precious and short. Are we using the gift of time well? We should treat every second as an opportunity to grow, to forgive, to support someone in need, and to love.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, PhD, is the Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary.

People view our Scripture  as a foretelling of the “second coming” of Christ in the far off future– but each of us are simply a minute away, for when death comes, so does the second coming in our lives. The moment we breathe our last–we face Jesus.

To think of our death as that which can happen unexpected, opens us to living life in fullness and wholeness.

When I was a young pastor, on a chilly, rainy night, much has it is now in San Francisco, my brother and I were in the country coming home  from one of my rural churches. The car slipped on the road, and Stacy was killed instantly, and my life changed forever, probably the darkest time in my life, for I lost the last person who loved me without condition. 

A pastor friend said to me: ‘You will be looking at your life, and as you do, you will either choose to live it in a wild way,  never taking it for granted and , seeing each moment as precious, or you will withdraw and become an old man, never taking chances.”

I chose to live my life in ” a wild way,” and that choice has enabled me to survive in the ups and downs of  life because I know that life is a gift.

Today is World AIDS’s Day. I came Los Angles as a prostitute, and than to San Francisco in the heart of the epidemic–the fear, the total overwhelming pain and dread that overshadowed every relationship, is something I can not even describe. I lost over three hundred of my young kids on the streets to AIDS, and have many now who are HIV positive,  most whose parents would not even talk to me, but sent word, “You deal with him,” and today in our minority populations AIDS is still a death giver. I saw and still see the second coming in the lives of people suffering with the disease.

 From  my brother’s death  and the AID’S epidemic, I learned the most important element of mental health is  to “Be Kind!”  Judgment of others went out the door in the moments of his death, and experiencing the epidemic.

Through my years of education in mental health and pastoral care I have found the key to good mental health is to ‘Be Kind!’ to love as if it is it is the last thing we have to do in the world.

I loved the denomination that kicked me on the streets, I loved the man who killed my son, and I love the people who threaten my life, the ones who have tried to kill me, those who try now and those who  try to pull me down. In loving, not giving into hate–we have the victory, we have the fullness of life. We have freedom to squeeze every drop out of each moment of life. We are free!

Love–seeing the pain of others, experiencing that pain and showing care without judgment–  allows us to be free–free to live until we die, be it in the minute or in the years. 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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