“God is at home, it’s we who have gone out for a walk.”- Meister Eckhart
“Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in God.”- Henri Nouwen
Following my Sunday organist duties at Berea Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, I retreat to my favorite writing spot, Starbucks #02351. It’s Cheers on caffeine. For an extended time I often was served by a barista nicknamed “Z”. Using a Sharpie, Z would draw a smiley-face with large eyeballs on my venti coffee cup. To the right of the face, she’d always write “Hello Dave”. No visit was complete without her trademark “Z-balls”. On Z’s last Sunday at Starbucks, she stepped away from her work station to give me a hug. Little did I know that would not be my defining memory of Z. A week later barista Linda handed me a parting remembrance from Z- a black tumbler with Z’s signature artwork inscribed in gold pen.
Starbucks is a place of rest and contemplation, a respite from the hurriedness of life. It’s a second home, a place of my own where I’m accepted for myself. In his book Soul Keeping, John Ortberg writes that in order for the soul to be well, it must be with, or find its home, in God. The “with God” life is not characterized by extensive religious activity or trying to be good. John defines the “with God” life as “a life of inner peace and contentment for your soul with the master and maker of the universe.”
The best place to initiate our life with God is in the small moments. While it is easy to be “with God” during mountaintop experiences, John points out that such moments tend to be few and far between. Not every day can be Easter. We must be intentional in looking for God in the ordinary moments of everyday life, as John explains:
“Your soul will never find rest unless it finds its home. We find it in the simple daily discipline of asking ourselves. ‘Is God here in this moment?’ If he is not, he can be.”
To paraphrase Pastor Ortberg, sometimes a Starbucks can become a cathedral where we find our home in God.