When I began my ministry at Main Street Church, it involved a complete change of orientation. For many years, my most likely turn at the end of our street was to the left; suddenly I had to turn right, instead, heading to the highway rather than staying in town.
Sadly, my favorite place for getting coffee now lay in another direction. I remember thinking that if I could get out of the house a little early I might be able to go there anyway, making a loop to a different entrance to 295. But realistically, and truly, the chances I will be ready to go earlier are slim to none. Between cats and dogs and children, I am lucky to be out the door on time at all.
Still, this preacher must have coffee, and since I am a famous leaver of travel coffee mugs, having forgotten to retrieve them at my own church and many others, I’m really better off buying my coffee in a cardboard cup.
I’ve become accustomed now to the Dunkin’ Donuts near the highway. The clientèle differs from that at The Udder Place, the locally owned coffee shop where goth young adults make espresso drinks for City By the Sea yuppies. It’s a laidback little shop on a busy corner, painted a vivid purple and sporting a comical cow so bon vivant she terrifies. I’ve spent many hours there meeting with colleagues or friends, Molly lying on the floor near me and receiving the adulation of the patrons and cookies from the staff. I miss it.
Dunkin’ Donuts is down market by comparison. It’s one of those places where you get the message of the American melting pot, a place where people of all social strata meet for a Cup of Joe and a Glazed Stick. There are complimentary plain Munchkins for Molly and Sam, but they aren’t allowed to come inside. Almost inevitably, I meet some member of CBtS’s burgeoning immigrant community. Often a group of Somali men are talking and drinking their coffee while I race off to work. I feel part of something larger as I make my way to the Turnpike and head south.
Recently, after a long absence, I stopped by the Udder Place for coffee, and I found it suffered by comparison. The wait was long, too long for me. The varied employees at Dunkin’ Donuts are, on the whole, friendlier. And the cup of coffee did not stay warm for very long in the car.
So often we wax nostalgic, looking back to older, fonder times and wishing we could have things the way they once were. But would we really like it better? The spiritual journey requires us to move forward, to push on into God’s future, remembering what we treasured, but never allowing it to blind us to the beauties of this particular day and these particular companions.
As the Search Committee works hard on preparing the Church
Profile, I am aware that the people of Main Street Church and I will someday be to each other what the Udder Place is now
to me, a relationship we remember fondly, but not the one that defines us or
holds us back from being God’s people in a new future. Somewhere, the person
who will come to serve as their settled pastor is buying a cup of coffee and
wondering where she might serve next, where his gifts will best be used, where
the next cup of coffee might be found. I hope they take the new pastor across the street
to Aroma Joe’s!