Holy Encounters

Christ Over Coffee is a growing concept and one thing that I have found that is for certain is that each time I find holy encounters. People are always there for some conversation and each one is interesting and fruitful. It is fun to have these opportunities and the fact that I am open to them makes that all the more affirming when they come. How often do we miss these opportunities, these holy encounters, just because we are not open for them? I wonder that in my life. I know there are days and times that I am just not in the mood or have other things to attend to, so I may not be paying attention. There are also times when I just observe people. It is interesting how isolated we are as a people. It seems that in public the rule is to not make eye contact. Isn’t that interesting?

Unfortunately, that is how we have developed because we often don’t want to encourage interaction with the “wrong” people. I understand this since I have had some interesting encounters in my life. I have a man sing “El Shaddai” on the beach and kiss both my wife’s and my hands and feet after he talked to us and found out I was going into the ministry. I have had an uncomfortable encounter with a woman my wife spoke to in a restroom who then followed her and her friend to our table and inserted herself in our group at the table. I have had some very rich discussions in lines at the grocery store and the Wal-Mart. It is always a risk though. Sometimes people will go in directions that may make one uncomfortable and it will be tricky in trying to extricate onesself from the conversation. Isn’t that what it’s all about, though?

As I look in Scripture, I see in both the Old and New Testaments encounters between prophets, Jesus, the Disciples, and the Apostles that I would have to believe were not the most comfortable for them, but they were necessary. Sharing the Gospel with anyone is not a comfortable task, but it is something we are all called to do. Jesus began this when he sent out the disciples and the 72. It was the beginning training ground and I am sure they didn’t go out relishing the idea of being out and not knowing what they may encounter. God gave them many opportunities to heal, to cast out demons, and share the Good News. We also see our Lord doing his work with those that were without hope.

As I sit and write this I am have taken moments to look away and reflect and as I have done that I have been able to observe. Sitting here I see the other way of avoidance as I watch people sit down and stare at a screen either on their phone or a tablet. I know I have been guilty of this and in my awareness as I type I see to see if I can make eye contact and greet. Admittedly the opportunities have been few and the greetings have been short. It is sometimes hard to find something to maybe use as a starter and even then some will quietly defer from having any type of conversation. It is our age. We often are more open to share our lives (sometimes overshare) on some form of Social Media or in a blog but not in a face to face interaction. Sometimes strangers far away know more about our neighbors than we do. It is an interesting age that we live in, full of wonders and opportunities.

I still believe that there is nothing better than to sit over a cup of coffee and talk. That is why I choose to go and seek out these opportunities while sitting at a local coffee house. Social Media shows us the hunger for connection and the need to be understood. It can be healthy or unhealthy, my hope is that more of these connections are made in healthy ways. My favorite healthy way is sitting across from another face to face over a nice cup of coffee enjoying the conversation and the sharing of life. It is these moments that are truly holy and I am ever thankful for every holy encounter that our Lord offers up. May you find some holy encounters in your life. If you are ever up for it and close by give me a call or drop me a line, let’s have some coffee and talk about those things that are holy.

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