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  • Writer's pictureIain Johnston

Lattes Life & Spiritual Things

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

I stare deep into the thick crema that tantalises my drowsy mind. The stillness of the early morning bares witness to all that I must accomplish in the day, all that is about to unfold. It prowls up on me, ready at any moment to pounce with a velocity that always takes me by surprise.

No sooner has the sun arisen to its splendid duty of light and warmth, announcing a new day and new possibilities, that it has then descended upon the earth’s horizon with a slow, dreamy salute of reds and golds that never ceases to capture me in a moment of wonder.

That slow farewell always seems to belie the frantic pace of the day that transpired before it.

Blink long enough... and its gone.

It’s why I sit here in the quiet of predawn. To prepare myself.

To brace myself. To evaluate how I may best accomplish all that I must.

I am no morning person.

I’d rather still be tethered by dreams to my bedsheets.

Thus... the tantalising crema that has just been espressed from exotic and perfectly blended arabica beans.

But my hands are not wrapped around the mug, nor my lips receiving the sweet nutty bitterness of my morning jump start.

I’m instead staring into its creamy tan complexion, resisting the seducing aromas that draw me into the first sip.

I’m suspended in a thought that suddenly broke through the early morning brain fog... and now, like a good cup of joe, is brewing, percolating, slowly dripping truths and revelations that will inevitably reshape my conception of how I pursue God.

It was a simple lightning thought.

“What makes the perfect coffee, every time?”

My mind immediately transports me to the mountain regions of Brazil, Columbia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, Honduras, Costa Rica, Ethiopia. I meander through the various plantations, their elevations, climates, rainfall, seeing the beautiful red coffee cherry being harvested for its coveted seed.

I see the faces of countless roasters, who’s knowledge and experience I have plundered for insight into the one thing they are most passionate about.

Roasting a coffee bean to perfection.

The temperature, the timing, whether medium roast or dark roast, the cooling phase. Single origin or blending different beans from different regions. All to caress the desired flavours from the bean.

The light in their eyes always twinkle. It’s a passion. A craft.

The same coffee beans in the hands of one roaster will taste different in the hands of another.

And then, the barista. The modern hipster, who stands behind the coffee machine, will either make or break what the plantation owner and roaster have passionately crafted. The grind setting needs to be perfect, effected by the room's temperature and humidity. The precise weight of grind dropped into the portofilter of the group head. The coffee machine programmed for precise extraction. The milk stretched to a perfect silkiness and temperature.

And the glamorous pour of the milk into the espresso shot.

Everything is precise.

If one little piece of that journey is compromised, just one, then so too is the final product that so many of us demand and enjoy.

All of the parts of that journey work hand in hand. A barista needs to trust the roaster is consistently creating the same flavour bag after bag. The roaster needs to trust that the barista is extracting the flavour that the roasting process is intending to produce for our enjoyment. Both, are relying on the plantations used to grow and supply green beans that will allow the roaster to extract the same flavours over and over again.

As I remain suspended in this thought, gazing into the beautiful crema sitting atop my long black, something dawned on me like the sunlight beginning to peak through the darkness outside.

My relationship with God is the same.

If I read and devour the Word of God like I should do, but don’t walk daily in the supernatural power of the Spirit, I am a fattened lamb, powerless and ineffective.

If I speak in the tongues of angels but have not love in my heart, I am an ugly, crashing, agitating noise that produces no good fruit.

If miracles and signs and wonders flow from life... but the Truth I speak is not grounded in the Word, or is watered down or not spoken at all, then those signs and wonders are for nothing.

If I love God... but not love my neighbour - I am a hypocrite to the very Scriptures I am tethered to.

If I testify Christ as my Saviour, but don’t hunger and thirst for Holiness and Righteousness, then my life is a false testimony - and I am lukewarm and will be spat from His mouth.

If I don’t seek to know Him, then I don’t truly Love Him.

If I don’t care to experience and encounter Him, then I don’t care for Him.

If I don’t earnestly want to be everything that He wants me to be, then I am still lost, confused and broken.

It has been said many times in many ways, that my experience of God will always be determined by how big or how small I make Him to be.

But in addition to that thought, my experience of God, will always be limited by how much I seek Him.

When I meditate on all His goodness, His wonder, and His desire to be close to me ... oh how can I not want to seek Him in every way?

And so wondrous is His Presence, so deep are His truths, so vast are His mysteries, so extravagant His Grace and Mercy, so extraordinary His Love and so fearful His Power, that there is not a day that I will live on this earth where I am not able to experience more of Him.

As all I have just taken in begins to crystallise in my mind and take root in my spirit, the crema in that coffee cup before me begins to come into focus once more.

I lift the cup and breathe the alluring beverage in deeply - the crema so golden, the aroma so enticing, the promise of all that it will bring builds an anticipation I can no longer resist.

Much now like the One who carefully knitted me together in my mother’s womb and breathed my existence into me. But so much more so.

For that crema, when sipped gratefully, will enliven my existence, be it all for just a few hours.

But to drink from the Living Water that will never leave me thirsty again, I am enlivened all my days.

How can I resist the anticipation something so extraordinary in Him?

I can no longer resist all that He Promises can be if I surrender myself to knowing and experiencing in Him in fullest measure.

Beams of sunlight break through my kitchen window.

A new day has begun. A new chance to experience all that is on offer.

A new opportunity to be all that I was created to be.

I take that first sip.

Of coffee.

Of Him.

And I know I am being awakened.

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