Jesus loved teaching with metaphors from the mundane. You remember the stories in Matthew: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed….like unto leaven….like unto treasure hid in a field. He holds up a comparison and invites his listeners (sometimes with His help) to extract meaning and insight. Imagine my surprise in a recent epiphany that the kingdom of heaven in my day is also like unto a Starbucks!
Over the weekend, my husband Chris and I were out of town. The internet connection where we were staying was abysmal. Being a savvy techno-jock Chris purchased a day pass at a “T-Mobile Hotspot” available at the Starbucks in the center of town. Perhaps you out there are all in the know about the latest advances, but I am still a relative innocent. I take most technology for granted and cannot even grasp the science behind tin cans with a string between them.
Still, I was eager to check my email. I assumed we would go to the Starbucks, stick some kind of card into some kind of machine. “Not so, silly girl,” you all chuckle. Before we ordered a hot chocolate, before we found a vacant table, Chris had his laptop open and voila! — we were connected. “As soon as you walk through the door, the power is present,” Chris explained.
I checked my mail, sent a message or two. Did my business. But I was in a slight fog of awe, an awareness of the holy. This little cave of space — scented with java and posted with the complexities of talls, grandes and ventis — was under the influence, you could say, of higher powers. The very air was filled with the potential. How does Hopkins put it? “The world is charged with the grandeur of God….”
This is like the temple, I thought. This is a place set aside, uniquely equipped, available and inviting to draw you to power beyond yourself.
Then, in my state of stupefaction, Chris informed me that this is how it works at home, too. WiFi it’s called. So, all those nights watching Law and Order in bed, Chris with his laptop and I with my cross-stitching, we are benefiting from this same mystical power? This home of ours, like the Starbucks, is a place similarly prepared, equipped, available? If I apply to our home the insights and implications of this “kingdom of God” connection, is our home a place with communication from and access to the Divine? What maintenance, management, alignment does it yet need? Do I take this for granted, too?
And what about that cave of space where my mind and heart reside? Am I aligned correctly? Am I prepared, connected, accessible both to receive and transmit the power of God? Order me up another hot chocolate! I’ve got to ponder this!
Now, of course all analogies break down – and it doesn’t take long for this one to. Yes, the power available at Starbucks’ Hotspot gives you as ready access to porn sights as to timesandseasons.org, but humor me here. Of course essentially the same principle works for all I know with those tin cans and string and microwave ovens and TVs. (While we’re at it, are there those of you itching to explore whether even entering a Starbuck’s is a violation of some ethic?) But here’s my invitation – please share your own metaphors of the mundane, your “trivial” epiphanies, your musings, your “never-would-have-expected-to-get-a-spiritual-insight-here” experiences…or just stop in to say hi.