The SoupBus has been in action for one year this week and it has become a familiar sight around the streets of Ballarat.
Last year and in the early part of this year I was on the bus quite regularly. I haven't been on the bus since March and it looks like I won't be on for the rest of the year. I confess, not being on for so long really annoyed me for a while. My inner dialogue was something like this, "How annoying, here I am willing to volunteer and I'm not getting a go. I have supported this project since it was first talked about, I went to every meeting and this is how I'm thanked..."You get the idea, I don't need to embarrass myself any further by continuing to expose flaws...
Anyway, eventually (longer than I care to admit) my attitude has changed. It is not about me. Whoa. It's challenging to note that even when you are engaged in acts of service you can quickly turn it into something that is selfish. I should be celebrating. The reason that I'm not on the bus very often is because the SoupBus has been so well supported by the community. There is a waiting list of people that want to become volunteers in order to serve our those in our community who are in need of food or friendship. This is an exciting thing. It has created a sense of unity across churches, community groups and the city. It also bodes well for the future sustainability of the bus.
So in celebration of the first anniversary here are my top three reasons why I love the SoupBus.
- Unity - I've already mentioned the way in which people have come together from different parts of the city to work together in serving others. Businesses, people from different church denominations, secular organisations and all ages and walk of life working alongside each other with a shared purpose. It's a great feeling.
- Stories- One of the best things and probably one of the most unexpected delights is having the privilege of listening to peoples stories. Stories of brokenness as well as hope. I feel honoured and humbled by peoples willingness to share themselves in this way and I have often come away from an evening feeling like I have received more than I have given.
- The Bible and faith in action- Issues of social justice are central themes in the Bible. We are called to meet the practical needs of the poor, the oppressed and the marginalised to demonstrate our love for each other and for God. " I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" Matthew 25:40. The SoupBus brings the scripture to life, broadens my view of the world and opens up opportunities to live out my faith.