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A Look At Matthew 25:35 And Giving Thanks

This post is something special for me. First, I am writing about a deeply personal experience with a person, Jennifer Reimer, who was very dear and significant to me. Second, it is the first time ever that I have written any sort of scholastically ecclesiastical piece. I'm a bit at a loss for how to do it - I have read Kevin Burgess' posts along with the content of Image Journal, a publication of Seattle Pacific University which I own.

The most common theme amongst Christian writers, who are all very different from one another, seems to be taking a general theme from the Gospel and applying it to personal experience or some sort of thesis. I want to bring up this quote, which my fiance wrote in a letter before she passed away in her sleep April 14 this year:

The scripture actually continues "Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." In the context of that quote, Jen was writing to some folks in Pennsylvania she stayed with but parted on bad terms. I have since given that letter to one of her best friends in Seattle, who I think will value it much more than the intended audience. Without the rest of the letter, it actually seems like an appropriate farewell to her friends, family and to me.

There were two copies of the Bible in my apartment when she passed. I'm not sure if she read them - the writing of Matthew 25:35 didn't match up with the copy I have. Jen was evidently extremely vulnerable to anyone who met her and both this verse and her being able to quote Scripture at all are revelations of that. One of Jen's former girlfriends told me she found it "super surprising" because the Jen she knew was not religious at all. One other "friend" of Jen's, who I'm no longer in contact with, insisted that I was using Jen's memory to start a religious writing career. On the contrary, it was the experience of her that made me interested in religion - I had to look up the above passage as I was unfamiliar.

Jen was all of these things - hungry, thirsty and sick (not so much naked - she owned alot of clothes!) and many people, not just me, tried to alleviate that. We could only do so much, of course. One writer for Image, SPU's Creative Writing digest, Susanne Antonetta, described herself during her "drug days" with the brutal nickname "Auschwitz" due to her extreme frailness in the confession "With Saint Christopher at Chimayo." She remarked several times in that article about her unlikely survival, Christianity playing an overt role in that occurring in the first place. I can imagine what Antonetta must have looked like - Jen weighed 100 pounds and the many doctors we frequented pegged her for a drug addict almost immediately after looking at her. Jen looked like a movie star when I met her and she still retained quite a bit of beauty even in her worst moments.

I believe that Jen's picking Matthew 25:35 as her last Biblical quote did send a profound message as it starkly thanks God for providing the most basic of needs. We had had an argument the day before and she told me that she was sorry and "I owe you my life." I do not think she was ungrateful for those helping her - some demons are simply more powerful than even the best people can push back. She thanked us and we in turn thank her for being there for us.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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