Coffee & Faith

Brothers and sisters,

Early on in my time here at Hope Valley, I mentioned that I love coffee. I love the smell of coffee brewing. I love the rich taste of a good dark roast. I love coffee shops and the atmosphere they cultivate. There is a buzz in the air—though that could just be the caffeine! My favorite thing to order at a coffee shop is always a pour-over. A pour-over, for those that may not have ever ordered one, is essentially just a cup or two of coffee. But pour-overs take time and attention from the barista. The coffee beans have to be ground to a specific size. The water has to be heated to a specific temperature based on the roast of the bean. The grounds need to be “bloomed” with a little bit of water and then the barista must slowly pour the hot water over the grounds to ensure a smooth, silky texture to the finished coffee. It takes time, but my goodness it is worth it!

I actually have all the equipment I need to make pour-overs at home. I’ve got a burr coffee grinder so I can get the exact grind I want, a digital gooseneck kettle so I can heat the water to the exact temperature I want and control the flow of the water once it’s been heated, and a glass Chemex to hold the coffee (glass is preferred since it imparts no flavor of its own to the brewed coffee). From start to finish, it takes about ten minutes to brew one cup of coffee. As a coffee-drinker, I love every step of the process and my friends who are coffee-drinkers enjoy it as well. But I do surprise some of them, because even with the Chemex and all the special equipment I own, I still have a Keurig machine. Within the coffee community, Keurigs are looked down upon. They are not as exact as a pour-over. K-cups are filled with preground coffee, meaning it isn’t as fresh as possible. And the machine forces the water through the grounds, rather than letting it work its way slowly through them. And so, I’ve over-heard coffee-drinkers at my beloved coffee shops saying things like, “Ugh. I’d rather have nothing than have to drink Keurig coffee.” But on a weekday morning, when I’m heading out the door to work, I don’t have time to heat water to a specific temperature and set my grinder to a specific size. I don’t have time to “bloom” my grounds. I just need coffee.

Our faith can be like that too. It is wonderful to be able to take time to slow down, read the scriptures, pray over them, and spend time speaking to God and with God. Those dedicated times of prayer and reflection are incredible and I would not trade them for anything. They can be soul-nourishing and invigorating, the types of moments that help us to build strong faith. But sometimes life is hectic. Sometimes you just have to get out the door. Sometimes you just have to make a meeting or get to an appointment or get on the road. And so some-times all we have time for is a quick prayer, a quick, “God, be with me,” or, “Help me, God.” Sometimes we can pour over the scriptures and sometimes we only have time for a quick reading. Both are valid. Both are faithful. Both are good. The important thing is that we find some time, any amount of time, to speak to God. If you can dedicate some time to an in-depth reading of the scripture, filled with prayer and contemplation, I would encourage you to do so. If you can’t, I would encourage you to try and steal a minute or two here or there where you can say a quick prayer or reflect on your faith. Regardless, I would encourage you to spend whatever time you can with God. It will always be worth it.

Grace and peace to you all,
Pastor Ben