Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Caribou is probably my favorite coffee shop right now. Although Panera is still better for breakfast and lunch, Caribou has the best coffee. Consequently Carol and I start every Sunday morning Caribou Coffee. We have a large light roast and a French toast muffin. We share them both, but more importantly she brings in her computer and I bring in my notes so we can review the morning and make any final changes on the power point.
This Sunday morning was going to be different though. I wasn’t going to be speaking. I was going to share communion but we were going to open up the service to let people share their Thanksgiving “stories” instead. I wasn’t sure how many people were going to share their “stories” but I knew there were a lot of people with "stories" that I hoped they would share. As it turned out there were more than a dozen people who spoke. They were all lined up in front of the auditorium and simply shared their "stories" and then passed the mic down to the next person so they could share theirs.
The “stories” were awesome. None of them were stories of thanksgiving for a simple life, instead they were stories of thanksgiving for God being there when life was tough, when they lost a job, when they got sick or when their children or parents got sick. Isn’t that the way it is, we sometimes forget to be thankful when life is “easy.” It’s not until we lose something or at risk of losing something that we stop to be thankful. It was so moving that someone said, "the only thing we need to do next time is hand out Kleenex."
In the beginning I wondered "can you do that?" "Will anyone share?" "Will people feel “cheated” because there wasn’t a “message?" "Would they get bored with people just telling their “stories?” Well I didn’t need to worry, everyone loved it, and so did I. Not because I didn’t to speak, but because God got to be lifted up in “real life.”
That’s what I am thankful for about journey. Not just that there is permission to do things different but that you get to be “real.” And then after being “real” you are still loved. That’s what I think church is. It's not a place or a program but a people, a people who are on a journey together towards loving God and one another.
But as great as that was our day wasn’t over. After church Carol and I went out to dinner with the family. We celebrated our daughter in-law's birthday and the boys being home for Thanksgiving. Then we went home and took a nap. We needed it after a busy weekend that included hosting Carol’s family for Thanksgiving on Saturday. We must have had too much coffee because we couldn’t rest for too long so we went shopping. After shopping we went out to eat again and then stopped by Caribou to finish the day off where we started, only this time we didn’t have to share, we each got our own coffee!
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8