Uncluttering the Spirit

John 15:12-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.


    We have begun a course entitled “Uncluttering”  lead by Joshua Becker. On the surface the sole focus is to go through all of our  material items that have accumulated over time and part with them.

    There has always been a deep feeling of privilege and guilt with all of our  belongings, and the course is now forcing self-reflection. The readings have pushed the envelope in our reflection.

    Asking the questions about items: “Why is this so hard? What hold does it have on me? and “Are these feelings unhealthy or healthy regarding these items?’ We are realizing the reasons for the accumulation of clothes and other items go to a deep seated fear of not having enough, and a desire to belong.

    There have been years, and some of them have been in San Francisco, when we were  afraid there would not be enough for food, for rent and clothes. We  sometimes  over eat because there have been weeks  when we were fearful of not having enough to food, and so we unconsciously stuff ourselves . My grandmother used to hoard certain items because during the Great Depression they did not have the money to buy them.

    There are items given to us through the years by youth who are now either dead or gone. We hold on to them, we treasure them, but there comes a time to let them go. It is time to simply let my friends move on. It is time to work through our feelings of loss and grief.

    We wear certain clothes in order to fit in. I have always wanted so deeply to be a part of a team, one of the homies, to be a part of a group. To be loved and accepted means a lot. And yet we know the reality is that the road we  travel will bring us into conflict and at times will separate us from others.

    And so as we reflect on these feelings, and slowly go through our possessions we are realizing that all of this has to do with our spirituality and our commitment to live simply and to care for others.

    Jesus tells us today to “love one another”, and the journey in uncluttering is a journey of moving outward in love,  and giving away our items to others. Each piece of clothing, book, jacket or other items given is an expression of generosity and caring.

    As we open our hearts in giving we are opening our hearts to God who calls us to “love one another.”

    We invite you to join us on this journey. We are in desperate need of socks and blankets. How many pairs of socks do we need? We allow one pair a day–so eight to be safe; blankets, just one or two, and we will be grateful to receive and give the  the extra away.

    The look in the eyes of a person  when given a pair of socks or blanket is one which melts one’s heart,for it is an act of love.

    Other items give to Goodwill or some other agency that works with low income people.

    Our generosity is both a spiritual act and life blood for others, as well as ourselves. 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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