Coffee Cup Theology

I sat in Starbucks the other day.  It was packed.  To be fair, this particular Starbucks location had just undergone a renovation.  I’m sure some of the people there were there to check out the new bricks and mortar.  But it seemed like everyone else there had a different agenda.

For some, the agenda was enjoyment.

For others, the agenda was spending time with friends.

Even for others, the agenda was a place to catch up on some emails while enjoying their delicious cold brew.

I was there with my wife.  Our agenda was to spend time together, doing something that we both enjoy.  Eventually, one of our friends walked in.  We welcomed him, got caught up on life, and enjoyed each other’s company.

It’s funny how coffee shops work.  There’s a collection of people from all walks of life, coming together for a brief time to congregate around a cup of liquid (and maybe even a doughnut or a cookie).  Some arrived with friends, some arrived with family, and some arrived alone.  Some of them even wandered in off of the street, seeing the people inside and smelling the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.  They all have a common purpose: to enjoy this experience.  Sure, some people are hitting a drive-through or grabbing a coffee to go.  But for a short few minutes, they get to participate in the experience that most coffee shops have.

For many people, a coffee cup isn’t just a container that holds hot liquid.  It’s a symbol of friendship and community.  People willingly leave their homes to go to a place to sit over a cup of coffee and talk to someone else.  What happens over a cup of coffee is a sacred thing, and I think it has been engineered in us by the Creator.

Jesus sat around a table with his followers and broke some bread and shared a cup to explain what was about to happen to him.  Out of all the symbols, materials, and things to use in this world, he used what is found on a table.

What was found on that table can be found on a table now at a coffee shop.  Not just material things like food and a cup, but non-material things.  Like friendship.  Service.  Love.

Maybe what happens over a cup of coffee is bigger than what we realize.  Maybe people congregate over a cup of coffee because it is a desire set within them by their Creator, and was played out by Jesus himself.

Maybe we would be wise to acknowledge that within our churches.

Just think of all the times Jesus sat with his followers around a cup.  Just think about all the times that Jesus sat around a cup with tax collectors, sinners, and people like you and me.  Jesus was on to something.  The Son of God had it figured out.

Once again, maybe we would be wise to acknowledge that within our churches.

People who are coming to our churches for the first time (or second or third) are coming to see and hear about Jesus.  They might not know it yet, but they are also coming to connect with you and me.  Do you know what would really enhance that and encourage that connection?

You guessed it.  A cup of coffee.

It’s something that we can grab hold of while we worship the One who created us.  It can give us a sense of comfort during a particularly uncomfortable time (like visiting a new church).  The aroma and taste helps us connect with our memory, making us realize that everyone here is in the same boat (sinners in need of grace).

Then we read about and hear about Jesus, who obviously put great emphasis on what happens around a cup.  We’re connecting with him, and with the other people around us.

Before you know it, we have a church that’s moving, living, and active.

So maybe the best thing we can do this Sunday is to brew a pot of coffee, pour a couple of cups, and hand it to someone who walks in.  Maybe that’s what Jesus would do.