Trusting Our Unique Vocation

ing Our Unique Vocation

John 10:7-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.

    Yesterday, a twenty year old friend came into the City to hang out, to simply chill. We were  late coming home and he was laying on our   bed tied to his IPHONE, looked up and spoke.

    Matthew  has a set of keys because when we  had surgery two years ago he came in to take care of us the first two weeks when support was needed ; he took off from school, and work. We went out to eat and just hung out, enjoying being together.

    We remember   many a night  sleeping on his floor, as we recovered, with his three dogs sleeping on top of us , we went to Amsterdam and Mexico together. We are thinking of another trip.

    We met Matthew when he volunteered  at 14, and  he kept coming back, and sealed the friendship in the giving of his time to care four years later.

    We have fought, argued, struggled on this journey, and in the last year there has come a peace,and understanding between us. I wear a vest he gave me for Christmas with pride. He takes me out to dinner once a month.

    Matthew  is symbolic of ministry. In many ways when we wanted to walk away from this ministry, the Spirit used him to remind us of our call, so many years ago now.

    Ministry is being vulnerable to others, to sometimes being torn a part, it is the struggle of being honest, and dishonest, making mistakes, but ultimately showing unconditional love.     

    Ministry is meeting people where they are with out judgment, and it is meeting people face to face. Ministry is relationship.

    Henri Nouwen describes ministry in these words: “You have to start trusting your unique vocation and allow it to grow deeper and stronger in you so it can blossom in your community. . .Look at Rembrant and van Gogh. They trusted their vocations and did not allow anyone to lead them astray. . ..They didn’t bend over backward to please their enemies. ….Both ended their lives in poverty, and both left humanity with gifts that could heal the minds and hearts of many generations of people. Think of these two men and trust that you, too, have a unique vocation that is worth claiming and living out faithfully.. .Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

    In our time we need ministry, hands on, working from the bottom up with people. God calls each one of us–to give of ourselves to others. All of us have a gift to share.

    We struggle, we are criticized, and frankly we will never truly know  our affect on others  it is messy, painful and in the end , our call is to TRY!


Memorial Service to Celebrate the the Life of

Jim Gleason


St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

1755 Clay Street

San Francisco, CA 94109


2:00 p.m.

Father River Damien, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.]

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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