Ma Lady

gaggia achilleThis is a picture of my beloved, Ma Lady.  She is a Gaggia Achille lever espresso machine (Insert Tim-the-tool-man grunting).  Every morning I long to see her face and flip on her switch.  I know her intimately: the noise she makes when the pressure is just right for pulling the best shot, how much coffee to pack into the portafilter for the perfect crema, that she extracts a better shot if I give her a half a pump first…I love Ma Lady.  She is more than an espresso machine; she’s an Italian work of art.  She is also a great example of God’s wonderful common grace gifts in our secular world--superb technology on display.  To me, Ma Lady also represents something that people have tried to villainize just because it’s good: coffee.  If you’ve read Solee’s report on the history of coffee, you have a general idea of all the ruckus coffee has been through. In one of my earlier Reading Reflection’s (Dual Citizens, Jason Stellman), I affirmed with Stellman the physical blessings God gives us in this world.  He comments that so often well-meaning Christians pit the spiritual against the physical, not recognizing the common grace God has given to all for enjoyment (thereby glorifying God).  After all, the Christian’s final resting place is not a matter-less spiritual heaven, but a new heavens and a new earth.  Here is another quote: The fact of the matter, however, is that the church’s warped version of worldliness makes the enjoyment of life’s legitimate blessings extremely challenging.  Also, the nature of our culture isolates us from one another.  We sit at our computers or in front of our TVs, we drive alone in our cars from the garage at home to the one at work, we interact through Facebook and email, we converse through cell phones and Bluetooths, and even the live events we attend, such as weddings or birthday parties, are usually observed through the screens of our camcorders. (133) And here is where the real magic of Ma Lady happens.  She is a wonderful morning companion.  But she is also an instrument for hospitality.  As you can well see, her beauty is a conversation piece alone.  What is more, I can invite people to my house for a fabulous cup of mudd.  Whether you are the type who likes sweet, flavored, and creamy; iced, blended and chocolatey; or the purist who wants it black as hell and strong as death (as Tallyrand articulated); I know how to make it with Ma Lady.  As Christians, we are called to hospitality.  This can be a challenge in our quick-paced culture.  There is less time, more hotels, and more restaurants.  These are all good places and can be well used, but they also make it easier to not invite people into our actual homes--a place where our families have their own culture.  We can invite people into our own space and share that culture in service.  There are not many opportunities to share Christ’s love better than the ones given to you in your own home.  It is also the one place where we are challenged to move passed creating an image and move on to sharing our life. Do you have a good tool for hospitality?  Maybe it’s a fabulous garden, or a new puppy.  Perhaps you have a special skill that could be shared, or a rocken’ muffin recipe.  Of course there are ways to be hospitable outside of the home as well, but my point is, do you have some hospitality tools in your arsenal?  This is where the worldly can intermingle well with the spiritual.  Maybe it’s time to get cracken’. Meditation: 1 Pet. 4:9