Recently I was walking across the college campus that is down the block from Trinity United Methodist Church’s building. It had been day full of meetings and rushing around trying to get everything done, so as I walked I tried to be really present in the moment, a tip I learned from my therapist. It’s amazing how much my anxiety and stress is reduced when I take a little time each day to be centered in the here and now instead of hurrying to the next thing, voice texting on my phone, as I whir through my mental to-do list. As I walked I noticed the way the air was a little warmer then it had been the past few weeks. I smelt the rich earth and heard birds calling. Shoots were beginning to push up through the earth. It felt like spring.
As I walked my steps were lighter and so was my heart because I realized that not only was the earth rejoicing in the coming of the season of new life, so are the folks of the Southeast Portland Parish. I was on that college campus, meeting with campus staff and a group of church folk, to talk about ways our community could support students. We’ve been asking people in our neighborhood how we could partner with them, or what’s going on in their world, or what they need, and it’s been amazing. I was shocked to learn that the school operates a food bank because so many students struggle with food insecurity. This is a far bigger crisis than my own days of subsisting on Pasta Roni. I had imagined all the problems students would be facing today, and some were right, but there was far more going on than I knew.
Our Parish isn’t sure how we’re going to respond to the needs we’ve discovered in our neighborhood through visits like this one. There are so many ways God could be calling us to love in this season. Our work as a community now is to discern our role in this time. One things for sure is that the Southeast Portland Parish is entering in to a new phase of life, where we will be engaged with our neighbors in meaningful ways.
It really is spring.