Category Archives: Ministry

The Doorkeeper

 “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” — Psalm 84:10

There’s something about autumn that makes me nostalgic. My thoughts turn back the pages of the years and I think of the happier times before I made unwise choices. I remember the faces and places, and I get a little sentimental yearning.

One of the faces that always pops into my mind is Miriam’s. When I first met her, I was a freshman, and a maladjusted one at that. Miriam was always bright and shiny; her eyes crinkled and twinkled, and her silver hair pleasantly glistened under the harsh cafeteria lighting. She was petite (translate my awkward, gangly body towered over hers); she was so grandmotherly you wanted to hug the stuffing out of her every time you saw her.

Two meals out of three on her work days, she sat at the door and scanned our students IDs so we could get our meals. Even on the busiest days, she was never really cross or harsh. When she wasn’t at the door, she was usually on clean up, gathering trash and wiping down tables, injecting a bit of warmth wherever she met someone. On slower days, different students would plop down on a chair beside her and start to talk, and it wasn’t small talk. The kids always shared their troubles, issues, and joys. When Miriam didn’t have an answer, she offered a prayer for wisdom.

She was different. She did what the other cafeteria ladies either didn’t do or didn’t do as well–she saw us as people and tried to build relationships. This difference arose from a vibrant, living faith that showed her into the unseen realms to see Jesus walking with us students and to see Jesus walking and talking with her. Admittedly, her devotion to Jesus put off many of the more liberal or well-off or rebellious kids. But for those of us wandering and to those whose devotion to Jesus mirrored hers, she was a welcome fixture for so many years.

I wish I would have kept in touch with her. I never quite mastered the whole art of relationship; even in my forties, I still struggle. I suspect she’s home with Jesus, as the lady was quite a relic. In another way, I’m glad I didn’t. My poor choices would have been disappointing to her, almost to the level of wounding her.

Instead of wallowing in the past that was and wasn’t, I’m going to choose to mirror her as she mirrored Jesus. She was content with any job in that cafeteria, from the cleanest to the dirtiest. She always tried to be kind and patient with every one of us, even when some of us were haughty and hurried. She shared her faith, but it was never with a thwap of the Bible over the head; it was always in a related situation that was similar to ours that Jesus got her through.

Miriam lived Psalm 84:10 with all her might. Maybe, if we all learn to live that verse, the world will be just a tad better for our passing through.

Caffeine Charism… With Our Blessing

My current denominational pew has a coffee ministry. Every Sunday, some faithful souls brew pots of coffee, set up creamers and sugar and coffee pots and cups, and then tear down after the service. It’s provided great fellowship (as well as great opportunities for spiritual growth when there’s a miscommunication and the coffee doesn’t happen).

My angels and I work this one Sunday a month. Usually, it’s just me, and a child or two depending on who’s awake, who’s got a good attitude, and who needs mom time. We came up with something we like to do as part of our mini-service, and I’d like to share it with you.

We as a family thought that, if our meals could be blessed by saying grace, maybe we could bless the people who drank the coffee by praying over it as we brewed it. The prayer turned into a joint effort (and competition) as each child tried to remember from month to month not only what we prayed but the exact words of the verses we wanted God to remember He had said so He could apply it to the coffee ministry.

We based it on Galatians 5:19-23, James 3 loosely, Romans 1:28-31 loosely, and Philippians 4:7-8.

So, without further adieu, here it goes (feel free to share with your church’s coffee ministry if you like):

Jesus, when You created the world, You said that everything You created was good. This includes coffee. Even Your Jewish people consider coffee kosher and good to drink if it’s not too processed. Thank you for this good gift!

Please bless everyone who drinks this coffee. Let them have a good time together and enjoy being together.

Please let loose Your Fruit of the Spirit over the coffee area: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. There are no rules in most good societies against these things.

Please bind the following desires and acts of the flesh not only within the coffee area, but in the lives of those who drink the coffee: lust, impurity, partying for the sake of partying, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, anger, rage, prideful ambition, disunity, divisions, envy, and addictions.

Please especially help bind the sins of the tongue because these are so hard to tame: gossip, slander, cursing, boasting in anything but You, deception, and rebellion.

As we talk with each other, help us to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

Finally, release a spirit of peace over all who participate in this ministry–giving and receiving. Not just any peace, but Your peace that passes all our understanding. Let it guard their hearts and minds in You.

We ask these things in Your Most Precious Name Jesus. Amen.