I believe that God works through coffee.
I have a general rule of life that has become important, especially on Sundays. The rule is simple: No public speaking before coffee. It helps counteract my ability, or should I say, inability, to form sentences when I’m tired. But it’s also more than that, it helps convince me that I can and should do something active with my day.
The oldie but goodie movie “You’ve Got Mail” referred to coffee as being able to give even those totally lost an identity. Joe Fox, says, “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” First off, remember when a cappuccino at Starbucks was only $2.95? It’s more like $4.50 now. But I digress, back to coffee and my rule of life. Perhaps coffee, in its glorious ability to create a defining sense of self, is what is most required before entering into public speaking.
Before becoming a pastor, I never heard the word Emmanuel outside of Advent and Christmas. It’s unfortunate because that word, Emmanuel, is so much more apart of our lives than relegating it to just Advent and Christmas. It is a word I love deeply. It is the expression of how God comes to earth, and interrupts our lives. So often we miss it, we overlook it, we see past it.
Recently Netflix recommended that I watch “Call the Midwife.” I scoffed its recommendation, while I am a fan of many BBC shows, I thought it appeared to be a shallow and flimsy recommendation based more on my liking of “Downton Abbey” than of “Sherlock” and “Doctor Who”. But as I often find myself saying, I was wrong. Both birth and death, while scientific in their execution and fundamentals, always seem to present themselves to me as spiritual events. It is as if the veil between the worlds of here and hereafter are thinner. The 2012 Season Christmas special of “Call the Midwife” was one of the best expressions of the meaning of Emmanuel and use of the song “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel” I’ve seen in a long time. The midwives, as nurses often do, act as Jesus. They become expressions of Christ to the people they serve.
The concluding lines of the episode rang true – “Like Hope, Faith is both a rope and an anchor in a shifting world… and though I couldn’t not grasp it then, I felt it’s heartbeat, that it was love”
Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel.