10:00 o’clock on Friday Night…It’s 10:00 on a Friday night in the city centre of Edinburgh Scotland. The city is buzzing with tourist who are filling the streets and pavements to a near maximum capacity during this festival season, so much so, that it makes it almost impossible to walk. Entertainers galore are busking, Fringe attendees and participants are are filling every possible venue spot.
Pubs & Clubs… The pubs and clubs are full of young adults who are steaming, not from the summer heat. but from drinking to sheer excess, in an effort to drown out their worries and anxieties. They are looking for something to fill the void that is in their lives, but unfortunately are looking in ALL the wrong places.
One of my Scottish friends told me once that, “us Scots drink so that we can puke, so that we can drink some more.” That is a sad statement, and a sad place for our society here in Scotland to be in. But it is reality and the numbers are alarming! Obviously, not everyone drinks or thinks this way, but it is a problem.
The following are some of the effects that this kind of behaviour has on our culture:
- the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe
- Random violence and abuse at an all time high
- Drug overdose and Alcohol Abuse, one of the highest rates in Europe
Every year in Scotland 60,000 individuals and families are declared homeless (Homeless Stats for Scotland 2010)
On this past Friday night, the lights were burning bright around the city and a group of us from Mosaic Edinburgh decided to bring the light of Jesus to the streets, and to share his love in a tangible way to a group of homeless and vulnerable people who are sleeping rough.
We partnered with Bethany Christian Trust (this is the charity that Debbie works with and they work with the homeless and vulnerable in Edinburgh and Scotland). We prepared buttered rolls, cups of soup and hot tea and coffee as we drove the Bethany Care Van to several strategic locations around the city where we served the homeless and vulnerable.
That may not seem like much to some, but I tell you that to Tommy and Marc from Poland it meant a great deal to them. Tommy has been in Edinburgh for five years, and recently just lost his job after 4 1/2 years in the same job. He has been unable to find more employment, so he has lost his flat, and is now sleeping rough. I heard similar stories from a couple of young Scots as well.
At Mosaic Edinburgh, we want to live by faith, to be known for love, and to be a voice of hope. On Friday night, I think we practically lived this out in a small yet very tangible and meaningful way. Prayerfully and hopefully those 50 homeless we served would agree.
I am very grateful to Bethany Christian Trust for ALL the work they do, and especially in providing this Care Van nightly, year round in partnership with some of the local churches in Edinburgh. I was blessed for being there with our Mosaic Edinburgh team, and am still on a high from it.
A buttered roll, a cup of soup, a coffee and a tea served with the love of Jesus can make a difference.