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You may ask, what exactly can standing in line at Starbucks teach us about the Christian walk?  As I see it, it goes something like this:

 

So, I scoot off to Starbucks this morning to get my morning caffeine since my coffeemaker is already packed for the move. I have to cross a lot of lanes of traffic in order to make a left turn out of the driveway where I live, and it usually takes some time to get across, especially during prime morning coffee hours.  But not this morning.  Smooth sailing.  Clear path.  Not a car in sight.  I breezed out of the driveway, across the various lanes and the median and I'm on my way.  Woo hoo!  Chai soy latte, here I come.  Of course, as I'm apt to do sometimes, I immediately equated my good fortune in catching a break in the traffic pattern as a portent of things to come for the day.  Crazy, I know.

 

Flying high from this "sign" of the easy-breezy, no hassle day that's coming my way, I zip into the Starbucks parking lot, find a front door space and head inside... only to come to a screeching halt behind some twenty people in line.  So much for my easy-breezy day!  I tend to be an impatient person about such things and would normally about face and head back out the door, grumbling along the way with anger at the world because I did not get exactly what I wanted when I wanted it.  But I really wanted that chai tea, and I had the time, so I stuck it out.  And as I stood in line, I observed the various comings and goings and happenings at the Starbucks on West Gate Boulevard.

 

I noticed that the woman working the register and taking orders knew by name a majority of the people who came to the counter.  She said things like, "Wow, Karen, you've really lost some weight!" or "Hi Jim.  Your wife was in here already.  What, do you wake up at different times?" or "Good morning, Michael.  Let's see, I've rung up your usual.  Anything else?" or "I haven't seen you in a while, Barbara.  Welcome back!" And for newbies like me, she asked my name upon my order, and thanked me by name as I went to stand in line to wait (again) for my drink to be me made.

 

While waiting, I noticed a basket full of "fair trade" coffee.  (Purchasing fair trade products helps keep small farmers from spiraling into poverty.  Check out www.equalexchange.com and become a supporter!)  I noticed a basket of books with a sign above it that said, "We're supporting Literacy Austin.  Please bring us your books." (Literacy Austin promotes adult literacy and teaches English as a second language.)  I noticed a rack of CDs featuring collections of various artists' favorite songs (e.g., a compilation of Norah Jones' favorite tunes).  And I spied a stack of newspapers, waiting to be snatched up and read.

 

So, what can standing in line at Starbucks teach us about the Christian walk?  This:  Each of us is precious in God's sight.  He calls us each by name and treasures us.  No matter how we approach God or when or how often, our loving Parent is there to receive us, with warm welcome and smile.  Sometimes our journeys will be easy-breezy, the path clearly paved.  And sometimes, oftentimes, we find we have to wait on God.  It's understandable to feel impatient, but stick it out.  We simply must trust that those times of waiting will produce for us exactly what we need.  God always knows exactly what we need.  And as we're journeying-- while moving and while waiting --we are called to treat others fairly and honorably  and with dignity; to use our time and our resources to assist our sojourners; to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs regularly; and to read the Word for nourishment.

 

Grace and peace to you as you journey.

Yours in Christ,  

~~Jennifer

5/11/05

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