I know, strange title for a blog post.
Strange question some might think.
But a real question that I heard asked last night.
That made me think.
Is a cafe holy space?
Now, before I even give thought to the answer to the question, I want to consider the context it was asked in.
Because last night me and a couple of friends ventured out to a live music/poetry/storytelling evening at a local quirky bike cafe called ‘Velocity’.
Yep, that’s us.
Beautiful bunch I know! 😉
Now my friend has just started working at this lovely little cafe, so he is getting to know a few of the regular folk, but on the whole we were the newbie intruders into this little community.
But we were made very, very welcome.
Greeted by warm handshakes, good chat and great cake.
And the evening was eclectic.
Some singing. Some listening. Some ice breakers. Some speaking.
With stories about people, about hobbies, about coffee, and about cafes.
Ponderings about how to engage in community.
Questions about what was motivating us on our travels.
And do you know what hit me?
Really hit me?
That this little, quirky community felt a lot like a ‘type’ of church.
(Only just-maybe it could even be claimed that they did the welcoming, inclusive atmosphere thing a bit better than we often do it in church.)
It had all the trappings of our corporate meetings to an outside observer. Singing. A band. A service leader. A speaker. An ice breaker. A summer-upper. A coffee bar. Great cakes. Time to chat. Time to listen.
But, here’s the thing.
God was absent from these proceedings.
He might have been present in some of our individual conversations, but He was not the object of corporate worship.
Many things were central, but God was not.
He was not glorified, called upon or enthroned.
This place had a type of fellowship that was reminiscent of a small community church, filled with people seeking to belong to something they could invest in and find a place in.
And it was a fun night.
But that was all.
And it made me a little sad to see the somewhat-counterfeit community of the world, stand in a place that the church should be, serving a purpose that the body of Christ should fill.
Because I was challenged by how effective these people were in welcoming the outcast.
In listening to the broken.
Without the Spirit of God living in them.
So how much more should we, who Christ resides in, who Holy Spirit flows out of, be a stand-out-against-the-world living-example of community?
And a community that shouts the saving name if Jesus over our cities and towns?
A community that demonstrates the transforming power of God’s grace on rebellious and broken individuals through the transformation of lives.
So, is a cafe holy space?
Well it can be.
Because I am His temple. And we are His temple. Saved and redeemed to be used for His glory.
And I deserved nothing, but He gave me mercy.
And said that my very being could be His holy space.
His redeemed space.
So we are holy space, filled with Holy Spirit.
And as carriers of His Presence, we make the places we step holy too.
The cafe. The church building. The supermarket. The home.
Where we can glorify, call upon and enthrone the name of God.