I'm sitting in Kaldi's Coffee right across the street from our Concordia Seminary campus. Our babysitter, Emily, is watching Grayce. The boys are at Vacation Bible School. I have a lot of work to catch up on- life has been crazy busy, and I have had little motivation to work!
I come to Kaldi's to work. I come here for inspiration, for motivation. To get away from our home office and it's reminder of how overwhelming life is right now: too many dirty dishes, cereal on the floor, clean and dirty laundry everywhere, stacks of bills, and of course those last few boxes I never unpacked. I come here for Sanctuary.
I walk into Kaldi's and I am greeted with warm smiles from both customers and employees. Everyone there looks different: some have on business suits, some have tattoos, some have kids running around. There are young students intently studying, listening to Ipods, a grandmother with here granddaughter, people of all ages.
The one commonality is that everyone is accepted as they are. We all sit in this place of refuge, surrounded by beautiful, comfortable furnishings, great music, and each of us holding in our hands whatever makes us feel calm in this crazy world. When I come here, I feel like I can recharge enough for life to go on.
Dave and I have been visiting different churches, and I have come to realize that I am looking for many of the same qualities in a church. A comfortable, peaceful environment where all types of people of all ages can come together and feel accepted as they are. Where there is something to stimulate all the senses: great music, art, beautiful surroundings, a place to sit alone or a place to sit and talk. A comfortable seat to sit in and drink my coffee while I meditate on God's Word. Great childcare so that meditation is possible!
But most of all a Sanctuary. A place to forget how crazy life is at the moment, and give us a glimpse of our eternity in heaven. A place where communion with each other and the Lord is not determined by man-made standards of what church "ought to be", but instead is a reflection of our Great God. Our God who did not wait til our children were able to sit quietly in church, who did not wait until we were able to sit in church without getting up three times to get coffee, who did not wait till we could find the proper shoes to wear to church. He did not wait till we could follow the liturgy well enough to understand what we were singing. He did not wait for us to understand what "sacrilegious" meant, let alone how not to be it.
Our God reached down to us "while were yet sinners" and pulled us out of the deep, dark hole with the death of his Son, Jesus. Jesus Christ met people "where they were at" with his love and acceptance. And because of this total love and acceptance, because of his victory over sin, we can be free. We can have "the peace that surpasses all human understanding".
I think that many people who come to coffee houses are searching for that peace and acceptance. And while they may find it for a while, it will always be lacking. Christian churches have the most amazing gift to offer: the true peace, love, and acceptance that comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. True freedom. And yet many of our churches are such a poor reflection of this that many will never enter their doors. And if they do, they will never return, because it's just too hard to get past the rules, expectations, and "noise" of church to hear the Word of God.