Beloved and I did our early morning walk today, and it was the coldest day by far of any we've walked. The bridge over the river gave us a view of water, not yet frozen and turbulent from recent rains. On our way out I took note of her garden, forlorn and fluffy with brown blown-in leaves and the puff-balls left on the vine by her now-dormant clematis.
We had some hard talking to do this morning. Hard for each of us, family issues for me, work- relationship issues for her. There was some strain, but it's amazing how keeping your body loose and warm with movement can help that other kind of movement, keeping things flowing when what you want to do is bottle it up.
After our walk she asked if I would stay for coffee, so I waited for her to shower and then we went to our local fabulous coffee bar (not a Bigbucks, but a locally owned place with locally roasted coffee). She dashed out to pick up a newspaper and I ordered for us. We both know lots of the people who come in and out, business people from the community, my daughter's teachers. Occasionally I will see my ex in there, and he is always eager to say hi. (Beloved is not so eager to talk to him.) As I waited with the cafés au lait and Beloved's bagel (raisin, light butter, jelly), I thought how good and warm and safe I felt. It's the friendliest place in the world, I know lots of folks by name, I can have a fantastically tasty cup of coffee and sit within inches of the woman I love and just bask in it all... the exposed brick walls, the jazz, the great art. It is all good.
And, as I type this, I am wondering about church. It strikes me that the things that sitting in the Coffee Place evoked in me are all things that would be great to find in a worshiping community. And it sets my mind to fantasizing about things like Holy Grounds, a seeker's service launched somewhere near our nation's capitol last winter. Its purpose, from the view of someone who's been reading about it on Jan' Edmiston's blog, is to welcome the unchurched with a language they will recognize... coffee, good music, plus, of course, the challenge of the gospel. (I need to own the fact that I am incredibly jealous of the name... that and the Fatted Café are the two best churchy coffeehouse names I've ever heard.)
It just sets me thinking. What are the possibilities? What dare I attempt in my own church?