There is a prayer devotional in The Pagan Book of Hours: Breviary that brings to the heart the needful rightness of welcoming strangers. In this space today, I ask that you open your hearts and minds and altars to the presence of S. Baxter Jones, and give him hospitality. For none need comfort and support quite like this traveler in perilous shadows as he fights for his home against the forces facing him now.
His story has been featured in several places, yet this man is one of our Michigan own. Not Pagan, Neo Pagan, but human, his story reaches beyond the need for soup can religious labels and reaches into the heart of what it means to be a ward of the Gods. There is no greater mission than this, to reach across and lift up those who are oppressed among us.
And yet, his story seems to be missed in the righteous wailing and moaning of those who are enamored with far away bodies and stories of those who are in another land, while here this body is suffering. Our faces turn away to the tales of those writ large who capture the minds and media of the loudest. Yet in the stillness, the truth abides and can be seen for those who would but open their eyes, who have ears that hear. So it is this spirit, it is time to hear a voice that has been lost among the cries of the whirlwhind.
Mr. Jones, a Detroit public school teacher for 22 years, lost his home to foreclosure in 2011 when he fell behind on his mortgage payments after suffering disabling injuries in an automobile accident. Wells Fargo, servicer for Fannie Mae, refused to grant a forebearance and/or modification for Mr. Jones while he was obtaining disability benefits in violation of federal regulation.
In 2013, Mr. Jones’s offer to purchase his home at market value was turned down by Fannie Mae. Despite Fannie Mae and the FHFA’s recently announced Buyback policy allowing Michigan homeowners to repurchase their foreclosed home at market value, they are refusing to reconsider this denial.
It is to Hestia that it would seem to be the mindful devotion as we set our lights and lamps, as Mr. Jones has decided to go on a hunger strike. While we fill our bodies with sustenance, he hungers not only for food but for rightful justice. The fast removes him nutritionally as a representation that highlights his removal from the due and correct share of fair societal treatment as he seeks to regain the home being ripped from him at 8789 Rexford, Jackson, MI 49201.
Today is the Day of Hestia Tamia, and it is on this day that this writer asks that you lay out a feast, not for yourself, but for someone else. Today, let your fingers rise and leaven this burden, like bread, and make the calls, send the emails, and write the letters. Let today your Twitter fingers become like the grain as it is threshed, flying high and landing with weight. Today, let the hunger he feels be your own, and sit at that bare table so that it can be filled with that light and goodness that those who read this column are embers for in the torch against the cold.
To sacrifice to Hestia is to put that food
In the bellies of others than yourselves.
To sacrifice to Hestia is to bring in strangers
From the cold and the wet, and offer them food
And drink, no matter how little you have.
To sacrifice to Hestia is to remember the Law
Of Hospitality, and how the Gods all love that Law,
And that the stranger most soiled and tattered
May be a vessel of the Gods in disguise. --
The Pagan Book of Hours: Breviary
Call Katrina Jones, of Fannie Mae at 215-575-1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please refer to FHFA file# H-15-1408"
Set your hospitality table and let forth the stranger into your home. Open the storehouse of your hearts, and light your brown candles. And let us make a pleasing welcome of our deeds.