Friday, January 23, 2015

One coffee shop at a time

I had the opportunity to spend more than an hour at a local PJs) a coffee shop for those not in the know) yesterday. I was working on putting some thoughts for a sermon down on, er, paperish -- on my tablet.

But what I did mostly, along with drinking a surprisingly good cup of coffee (normally I'm a Starbucks' vanilla latte guy), was watch humanity come walking through.

There was the server with the orangeish (did you get the idea that one could add ish to anything and it seem much more descriptive?) curly hair. The guy with the hair shaved on the sides of his noggin and thick black curls on top like a cap. The woman with the way too tight tee-shirt that proclaimed the goodness of PJs. The older woman with the long, long black coat that dripped from the evening rain that pelted the Crescent City. She looked like someone out of a Batman movie with that coat. The woman with the voice that carried across the large interior. She is having problems with one particular professor at Tulane.

As I put word to paperish, words about integrity, honesty, righteousness and goodness, I studied the faces around me, looking into what their eyes for what they could tell me. I listened to their stories, played out over coffee and the occasional muffin. As the rain washed the streets of Uptown New Orleans, I allowed myself an hour to be a part -- granted a very small part -- of others' lives.

I thought of the Brandon Heath tune Give Me Your Eyes:

Give me your heart for the broken-hearted
Give me your eyes, so I can see.

Now, I get that I must (we must) do more than listen from afar. I get that we must develop relationships with these folks. But for a while, with rain a baptismal font as such, and PJs well-lit coffee house on a murky evening, I felt a connection to my city and to its residents.

Give me your heart, Father.
Give me your love, Father.
Give me your hope, Father.
Give me your power, Father.
Give me your Son, Father.
Give me your peace, your will, your ways.
Give me you, Father, so I may give you to the curly haired coffee server, and the rain-coated coffee-buying woman.
Give me you so that the strangers in PJs will become disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the (community) world.

Let peace on earth begin with me, Father. One coffee shop at a time.