Glimpses of the Divine in the Mundane

The neighborhood was darkening as dusk crept its soft fingers into the alleys and driveways.  My car followed its way to my last and final stop of the day.  Pausing to grab some java at a corner cafe, I sat for a few minutes pondering what the day had been.  I sat there in the tiny shop with 5 other souls, soft jazz playing in the background.  All lone islands in this sea of humanity called a city, we were all there to stop for a moment.  Some were working on homework, others talking with a friend, or, like me, just sitting and breathing.  Suddenly, the funniest thing happened.  This spider began descending from the ceiling right in front of the two who were working on homework.  Down, down, down it went, as if it were a stunt guy repelling into a giant’s world.  About 4 of us saw it happening at first – and we all kinda chuckled and pointed it out to the studying pair, who also watched its descent towards them.  For a brief moment,  total strangers were linked by this spider – as if it’s web had some magical powers to bond us together, as well as cascade from the ceiling.  We talked about the spider, and then watched it climb back up its tiny rope and disappear into the cafe colors.  For a moment – one tiny creature broke through the barriers we as humans like to put up – one tiny powerful, courageous creature broke our walls and brought us together as a common sea of humanity – all with our different skin colors, our different backgrounds, our own baggage; there we were laughing over a spider.

Looking at the clock I knew I still had that one last stop.  So I got into my car and made my way to the honky-tonk I had been before when I had met up with my brother.  I wasn’t meeting up with anyone; just wanted to poke my head in.  I walked into the place.  It was packed by this time.  I looked for a table or booth to sit at, and before I could finish scanning the room, my brother’s friend who I had met the other night, spotted me, and waving frantically, she moved towards me and said “here, you sit with me!”  Wow.  So much warmth and love and recognition for me, someone she had hung out with for only 2 hours of her life.  Yet it seemed like she had been waiting for me – watching for me, even though she had no clue I was coming in.  With all my thoughts and writing on the topic of “church”, and the experiments I had faced all day, this reception was in such contrast with anything I had experienced previously, that it was as if it were being blared through a megaphone…

I sat there for the next hour or so, sipping Pepsi, chatting with her on one side, and chatting with an old gentleman on my other side who used to be a rancher. ( He reminded me of an old version of Johnny Cash.)  We experienced community together – the 3 of us.  Talking about life, the dance, heartache, jobs, and how to keep going when life knocks you down.  After about an hour, I got what I was looking for…and more.  I said goodbye to my new friends, and walked out of the place, the country music drifting into the night sky.  As I got into my car, I knew once again, I had just experienced church for the umpteenth-time that day.  I had once again seen that church is not a place per-say;  it’s an experience – it’s a way of life…a way of looking at the world.  It’s a way of being present for the moments of the divine in any place, at any time and with anyone. You can experience it in a sanctuary, a coffee shop, a cathedral, or a bar.  Like a t-shirt once said:  “Don’t just go to church – BE the Church.”  It’s the practice of being present for the God-encounters at every miniscule moment.

2 thoughts on “What is Church – Part 5

  1. John says:

    Wow, I love this. It brought a tear to my eye reading and reliving this experience. So even now as I sit at Starbucks reading this I’m experiencing that connection, that church, with you.

  2. legitfaith says:

    Wow! What a great concept – over the miles! You gave me goosebumps. Can’t wait to see you in a couple days!!

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