Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ethiopian Coffee and a Reminder of the Simple Things

Yesterday I opened a bag of Ethiopian coffee from a friend. It is grown in Aleta Wondo. The smell of the fresh roasted beans was exquisite. Then I ground the beans while I put the kettle on for hot water. The aroma filled the kitchen. It was a touch of earth, a hint of cocoa, and something sweet I couldn't quite place. How long has it been since I savored coffee before I even brewed it. I have no idea, but too long indeed. My beans in the french press and my water at the perfect temperature, I poured the water into the french press and oh how they frothed. It was marvelous. I tasted that beautiful froth and knew this coffee was going to continue to be an amazing experience. I stirred the press and waited, stirred again, and waited. Finally the four minutes had passed. I pressed and got down my tiny cup. Pouring the rich coffee into the cup I noticed the opaque chocolate brown color and could hardly wait to taste, but first, the smell. It was smooth a velvet aroma, with cocoa tones. Finally a sipped the coffee. It lived up to the aroma. My roommate said just watching me savor the first sips was priceless.

In a world where packing our days is prized, and worth seems to be increasingly measured in accomplishments, I struggle to remember my worth is not found in humanity. My worth is more precious than jewels and more costly than silver. I am created in the image of God and treasured by the Creator of all. R. C. Sproul's The Holiniess of God reminds me that God created from nothing. Nothing. We cannot even thing of nothing, for if we think of something, it is no longer nothing. My mind was aching a bit from trying to wrap my thoughts around the implications of the very aspect of nothingness, when he continued. "The shaping and forming of paint, clay, notes on paper, or some other substance. In our experience we have not been able to find a painter who paints without paint, or a writer who writes without words, or a composer who composes without notes. Artists must start with something. What artists do is shape, form, or rearrange other materials, but they never start with nothing." (The Holiness of God. Audio book found in chapter 2) It is God who created from nothing, created by speaking the very word of creation bringing all into existence, who gives me worth. He finds me precious enough to send his Son down and die that I may then respond to his love and choose Him.

When I take time to go slow, I see beauty in the simplicity of an egg. I appreciate the rain, which brings life to the thirsty. I have been contemplating meditation as presented in Richard Foster's Celebration of Disciplines. I think I have finally begun to understand that I will never fully understand the practice of meditation. I can only practice it imperfectly and prepare my heart for encounters with a Holy God. Regular encounters with God both build my relationship with Him and free me from the forces that the world presses upon those who search for their fulfillment in worldly accolade. For it is when I attach my self more to God that I separate myself from the assessment of the world. I am beginning to understand why the disciplines are to be celebrated.

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