The challenge has always been to translate Sunday into Monday. After the Sunday sermon is preached in the church sanctuary, will it make any difference in Starbucks? Paul Richardson, son of famed 'Peace Child' author Don Richardson, recently asked this question of us. His challenge was clear: the next time you find yourself sipping on a latte, take a redemptive risk; strike up a conversation with a stranger; and be willing to let God lead you to share his love.
So here I am, the day after the sermon, sipping on a skinny latte, absorbed in reading a newly published tome on truth, when to my left, a well-dressed couple catch my eye. The woman is crying, pleading, hoping. Her body is bent, begging with a thirty something man who at one moment appears disinterested in her distress, then sympathetic, then speaking with raised voice, now turned away from the woman towards the people passing by. Their problem is public. They are sitting next to the Starbucks window. No attempt is made to hide her tears or his tension.
My Western mind immediately interprets the scene. "She's wearing a wedding ring. This is a 'domestic'. Something has happened that threatens a separation. This couple is in crisis. She doesn't want him to leave. He can't forgive her for what she's done. Don't get involved, Dan. You haven't got all the facts. Let them work it out themselves. Keep your distance. Respect their space. Don't pry." But now a stronger, counter cultural voice speaks. Not the 'keep your distance' word of Western privacy but the preacher's 'take a risk' challenge. 'Deep breath! Pray! What to say?' The decision is made. I'm going over - to them, note in hand.
"Doing life and love is difficult. I want you to know someone cares. I'm praying to God for you."
The man takes my note, reads it, and half smiling replies, sincerely, 'Thank you'. I go back to my table. They soon leave. Was it worth the risk? Did I help or hinder? Is their problem solved? I don't know. What I do know is two people have seen that Christians care and that God is really there.
Without God's risky, dangerous love where would we be? He loved strangers. Take the risk!