During a trip to Fort Scott, Kansas, my friend Deb and I discovered a wonderful coffee shop. Our chai lattes tasted spicy yet mellow, while the missional atmosphere of the shop impressed us.
Bookshelves were filled with classics and some religious fiction. I added my Reverend G books to their collection and promised to bring my next book after its release.
But we were most interested in the church service advertised for Sunday morning. So we punched it into our phone calendars and showed up along with 30 other folks of all ages and demographics.
It seemed a great way to attract people to spirituality within an unusual holy place.
I was disappointed when we were handed bulletins — not so outside the religious box. Churchy habits are hard to break.
We watched a video sermon taken from the book of Romans. Seriously? Romans? Why use one of Paul’s most verbose books, a treatise even seasoned Jesus followers find difficult to understand?
We discussed righteousness, legalism and how to determine God’s will, heady topics for a coffee shop.
A lovely young woman sang and accompanied herself on an acoustic guitar. We relaxed and enjoyed her melodies, interspersed with whooshes from the espresso machine.
Then a wonderful surprise greeted us as we left the shop. Across the street was a colorful wall with a unique wooden door, Tuscan colors and rough textures. The combination of beautiful weather, the Sabbath atmosphere and the companionship of a friend reminded me God is everywhere.
Deb and I took pictures while my creative mind immediately jumped to questions: What’s on the other side of that door? What kind of novel can I plot with this door as the main focus? Is this another unusual holy place? The Creator God showed up again with the gift of creativity inside me.
Hope often places us in surprising places. We may root ourselves in comfortable church pews where it’s easy to snooze through our spirituality.
But when we move outside the normalcy of walls and experience church in different settings, we breathe a fresh invite into the family of God.
The joy of finding pockets of believers in various places, those who worship in unique ways and spread the love of God without the confines of traditional walls. The textures and colors of different congregants, a quality setting for the stories written within our spiritual selves.
The ever-present God at home in a coffee shop and in the rich surface of a wooden door. Surely God is thrilled by creative venues. He relishes new plans even as his divine attributes remain the same.
By reaching out to others in unusual holy places, we instill more joy into our world and ultimately within Abba Father’s heart.
Hope shines when we yearn for spiritual experiences outside the norm.
©2020 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
For more essays about hope, check out Hope Shines — available in print, Kindle and Large Print.