And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.’ Mark 16:15
I have been spending time lately at one of my favorite coffee spots, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company. Their original coffee house is in Roswell, but now they have expanded to Atlanta and Cumming. Their motto: Drink Coffee. Do Good.
The company began when in 2001 the founder of Land of a Thousand Hills, Jonathan Golden, felt called to participate as the nation of Rwanda sought to heal from the 1994 genocide. Today the company engages more than 2,000 coffee farmers in Rwanda through the support and creation of cooperatives which work not only toward financial empowerment, but also toward reconciliation and hope. The company’s goal is to create “a business that engages redemption through excellent coffee and builds a global community by connecting the average consumer with a tangible avenue for everyday justice.”
I like to support them by drinking their coffee. Today my choice is an espresso drink called “The Reverend.” This drink combines a shot of espresso with raw sugar, so it is sweet and extremely strong as most of us reverends are called to be.
While few of us will ever witness the horror of genocide as it occurred in Rwanda, we see evidence of our sinful and broken humanity all the time. As a pastor, I get a front row seat to the best and the worst in the folks I encounter. We clergy are privileged to be present at some of the most important times in the lives of our parishioners. We are there with families when people arrive or leave this life. We preside over some of life’s most sacred moments. And sometimes, we receive their brokenness in the forms of anger and meanness. Through all of this, we are called to speak the truth. We are called to be strong and sweet and sometimes raw.
On Maundy or Holy Thursday, we remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples - delegating to them the responsibility to teach, heal and love in his name. On Good Friday, we remember the day Jesus gave himself to our brokenness. He let us do terrible things so that we might receive life. Our world was no more fractured then than it is now. We see our fragmented selves in Hutu and Tutsi, in neighbors and families turned against one another, in insiders and outsiders, in the mirror when we’re brave enough to look.
May we be strong and sweet. May we refuse to give ourselves to the despair of brokenness, but remember the wholeness we are granted. Let us embrace it and spread healing throughout the world in the name of the One who died for us, who rose for us and who calls us to go.
May your eating and coffee drinking be blessed.