Sunday, June 21, 2009

Specialty Coffee Fast

I'm sipping on a sweet, delicious iced peppermint mocha. I'm a little low on energy and wasn't sure if I could make it through the day without a little coffee boost. I often hear myself or others say, "If I don't have some coffee I might die." Its quite an addiction - especially in this part of the country. People literally have coffee built into their monthly budget. So I paid $3 for my coffee fix, took a sip and decided the mocha was definitely worth the cost. But is it really worth it? And would I have "died" if I didn't get a coffee?

I'm sitting in a park off of Burnside Street in downtown Portland. I lift my head and look around me: I see a man carrying his guitar and a pack of what looks like all of his belongings, a girl laying on the grass with an old bike proped beside her, a group of young people with dreadlocks, scruffy beards and grungy clothes. I am reminded of this morning's Call to Worship at Imago. A woman read a reflection on how many of us face difficulty in showing grace to people on the street. Why can't we open our hearts to people who's appearance or presents makes us feel a little uncomfortabe? So often we walk past someone who is in need and turn our eyes and our hearts away from them. My mind usually says, "I'm not the person who can really help them; I'm just a young person living on little money, I don't have enough to spare; It wouldn't be safe to even say hello to them; They don't want my help any way." But my heart tells me something different. The truth is that I do have a responsibility and I'm not doing my part. I can do something, even if it is small.

I take another sip of my specialty coffee drink. It isn't so sweet anymore. It's not worth the $3 I spent on it. So here's my challenge to myself and to you: whenever you feel the urge to buy yourself a coffee drink, when you feel like you might die without it, resist. Use that $3 for a greater good, something sweeter than a mocha (or skinny vanilla latte). One month. We can do it! The money doesn't have to go directly into the hands of someone on the street. It could be used to buy them a sandwich,though. Or donated to a homeless shelter. Or simply saved as a reminder to live a little more simply. This month make conscious decisions to smile at a stranger or ask someone in need how you can help. A little less indulgance can be a lot sweeter.

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