This Advent, we will spend sometime reflecting on what it means to be with others. The idea of being with others, is at the center of the Christmas Story. Jesus is announced in the scriptures as "Emanuel" which means "God with us". The church, annually celebrates Emanuel to be reminded that God is with humanity, and his church is called to embody this reality among his all of his creation. We will unpack this together over the coming weeks in conversation and over the years in relationships. Let's consider, reflect and pray that God opens our eyes to be more aware of those he is calling us to be with and that he would give us the courage to respond.
This Advent, our gatherings will be a little different ...
1. We will gather as one family. We've been split into two homes for a while now. December will kind of be like a family reunion.
2. We will have guests with us each week who are expereinced in solidarity with "the other". Typically our conversations are rich with wisdom from the room. This season we will practice solidarity by being with those who are being with. We have some neighbors who have a lot to teach us about what it means to "be with". Each week we will listen to their stores and experiences in solidarity with the vulnerable.
Our gatherings will be the same ...
1. We will still eat together and share with each other around a table
2. We will sing together, more like a family Christmas sing along though.
Free Hot Soup
This Sunday we will be joined by Abby, Mimi& Lisa. Abby & Mimi are both North Portland folks who spend a lot of time with our houseless neighbors. They are a part of a group of people that call themselves "Free Hot Soup". Below is a write up from Abby describing some of their work and a picture of Mimi I found on her Facebook.
About Free Hot Soup, Mimi, Abby & Lisa...
Free Hot Soup itself is a grassroots group of involved Portlanders that participate in outreach primarily in two ways:
1) Serving a hot meal to anyone who needs at Director's Park downtown 5 nights a week (all volunteer led, all donated food and supplies)
2) Mobile outreach across the city where we may fill our cars with supplies and food (also all donated/collected from friends and neighbors), drive around and find people where they are and provide as much support as we can.
We are not nonprofit, just a ragtag group of folks who give a damn.
That said, Mimi and Lisa have been doing outreach and advocacy for many years and might not fully fall under the FHS umbrella (since we have a broad umbrella without paperwork and such, it doesn't much matter!). That said, Mimi primarily focuses her energy on the North Portland community where she lives and is regularly out engaging with our neighbors outside there. Lisa has covered outreach all over the city but most recently has focused energy on outer SE which has seen a growing population of people living outside over the past few years. Abby can be found all over the city depending on the week. Between the three of us we've probably had thousands of interactions with houseless folks and have learned much endeavoring to exist in solidarity with them.
"I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me."