I'm sitting in an easy, simple, joyful coffeehouse. With four different coffees brewing--including a coffee of the day and a house blend of the day. They also serve over 50 teas, each delivered in a small, personal teapot. The menu is written in chalk, ready for a quick redo tomorrow morning when they feature a different specialty roast. As I sit at a well-loved table with mismatched chairs, I admire the mix of vintage decorations and artwork from local artists. The theme right now is bikes and the countless colorful wheels seem to happily spin around me.
The sounds of grinding and steaming are accompanied by jazz recordings from another era. The baristas strike up conversations with the yet-to-be-caffeinated people streaming through the doors. But everyone is happy--despite their lack of caffeine as they wait for their drinks. The atmosphere puts you at ease, honors your soul, recognizes your humanity.
Amidst the tables of laptops and school books and card games, I sit with a book, feeling the creativity around me, the humanity . . . and I feel God's presence. People are reading, reflecting, creating, laughing, experiencing. The atmosphere beckons, "Be as God has created you: creative, communal, contemplative. Feel the weight of your worth and simply be."
It's places like this that fill me with hope for the church. It's possible to be a place that welcomes, beckons, and honors: that says "I recognize you as one created in God's image, and I invite you to simply be, soaking up the goodness of God all around you."