First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Releasing the Flavor.

December 17, 2016

    I love coffee! Well, let me rephrase that. I enjoy coffee a great deal. I do have a few requirements for my coffee. It must not be tainted with any creamers, sugars, flavors, or any other additives. My palate desires bold rich dark roasted coffee.  Oh, and it must be as hot as one can make it without boiling it. In order to enjoy my coffee the way I prefer it, we have chosen to buy whole beans and grind them daily. It would seem to add too much work to a simple pleasure. We have found fresh ground coffee to have a better taste than that which is already ground sitting in a can or container for days and weeks.

 The odd thing about coffee beans is their purpose, their flavor, and their goodness can't be enjoyed until they are crushed and ground.  I have never tried to use whole beans in our coffee maker. I don't think much would occur.  The wonderful joy of coffee has its chance only when the beans are ground, the rich oils are released, and the flavor is brought forth by the scalding hot water. Without this process, all that goodness within stays within and never fulfills its purpose.

    I often think of Jesus Christ and all that he endured in his short 33 years. Scripture in Isaiah 53 prophesies that he would be crushed for our sins and bear the brunt of God's wrath on our behalf. During this season of Advent we sing songs like, "In the Bleak Midwinter" and immediately I think of Mary and Joseph traveling back to the region of Joseph's family. Historians and theologians believe this journey may have occurred during the winter or more harsh months of the year.

    Ladies who are reading this may want to envision being pregnant and riding on a donkey over rough terrain. Men reading this may want to remember the anxieties of expectant fathers and how we need to keep our expecting wife as comfortable as possible.  Consider just for a moment how the birth would have happened as Jesus was born in a manger inside an animal enclosure (barn, cave, etc).  I wonder if later when Jesus walked into the house and didn't shut the door, did his mom ask him, "Where you born in a barn.....?" Jesus could remind his mom, "Yes."

    The point being, Jesus endured the atrocities of human living and ultimately died an excruciating death on a cross. His body was bruised for our iniquities (sins). He had the sins of the world placed on him and those alone threatened to crush him. Without his love and sacrificial death, we would be lost in our sin, separated from God, and living hopeless. Without Christ's suffering, our salvation would not be available. While there is much lost in the analogy, Jesus Christ and coffee have similarities.  They both must be broken in order for goodness to come our way. 

    This Advent season leading to Christmas, celebrate all the suffering Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus endured so that our lives could experience the nearness of God and His love.

 

"...they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23b, NIV)

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