New Year – New Rhythms
Over the past couple of weeks I have witnessed through social media and in person at Bare Bulb Coffee all sorts of people marking a new year with planning, prioritizing, and strategizing for 2015. Most have done this with a cup of coffee nearby (as documented in their newsletters, Instagram feeds, and on their blogs). We’re happy to fuel your creativity and are grateful that our shop can be a space where so many people get such important work done.
My personal planning and strategizing, however, has to happen in another place – and is a little late this year. Having finished my second cup of coffee hours ago, I’ve switched to water and am enjoying the assistance of my little tuxedo-sporting kitten. (She sends her greeting by way of any typos you might discover in this post.)
This is what I am realizing as I look at the broad strokes of the next 11.5 months and the details of this first quarter: doing ministry in and as a coffee shop (and living life in general) requires the managing and juggling of lots of different calendars. The decisions we make are shaped by all sorts of patterns like hours of operation, national holidays, school schedules, vendor deliveries, and movie releases. We work to anticipate changes in our traffic patterns (and I don’t just mean the road construction out our front door). Our plans are affected by the groups and individuals who seek welcome and hospitality in our facility. In planning for worship and study, I’m thinking about seasons of the Christian year as well as sports seasons (what to do when the Super Bowl happens during our worship time?). I’m looking at the lectionary and listening to the litanies of struggle, and worry, and wonder that weave their way into conversations around the tables of our coffee shop. I’m noticing the books our community is reading and thinking about the news I hear on the radio on my drive home each afternoon.
There is no shortage of inspiration or conversation. It’s a rich stew, and I’m nourished by the way the Spirit serves it up through discussion groups and Bible studies, worship services and mission opportunities, Open Mic nights and art classes, and simple exchanges over a muffin and coffee. God speaks in all of it. Every little bit is infused with holiness waiting for us to see and to notice. Each moment is an opportunity to add our voices and our actions to the chorus of creation.
. . . and we are not going to be able to respond to it all or take it all in. We’re going to miss a few things along the way. We’re going to put our heart and energy into something only to find that the broader community has their attention focused somewhere else. We are going to think that it will be a slow day and learn that all of Middle Georgia got a hankering for a slice of quiche.
So, today, with pencil, laptop, books, and menus scattered across my dining room table, I chuckle with the words of John Steinbeck and remember. . .
The best laid plans of mice and men. . .
And I settle myself into the poem of creation. . .
There was evening and there was morning. . .
I trust in the wisdom of ancient Israel. . .
For everything there is a season. . .
I rest in the words of the prophet. . . .
I know the plans I have for you. . .
I surrender to the caution and promise of Jesus. . .
Keep awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
These are the eternal rhythms of mercy and grace.
When our souls are tuned to their pattern and nuance, the dance is stunning – and really, really fun.