Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Faith Blog..........from STARBUCKS!?!!

The song that silenced the cappuccino machine....
It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth. For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right.

Apparently, we were striking a
ll the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.

After
the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.

"No," I replied. "We love it whe
n the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?" To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?"

"Well. ... do you know any hymns?" Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one."

"Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one."
"Oka
y," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?"
My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one." She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing,

"Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?"
The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

"I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches me."

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendo to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!"

But the ovation continued.. I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!"

"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said.

"Why is that?"

"Well . .." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song."

"Really!" I exclaimed.

"Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual.. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."

I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?"

She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.. Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it. God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting Him and singing His songs, everything's gonna be okay.

Z: Happy Sunday...let's all try seeing 'coincidences' as what they probably really are :-) The more you start noticing, they more they come. I promise.
z


22 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Z: Happy Sunday...let's all try seeing 'coincidences' as what they probably really are :-) The more you start noticing, they more they come. I promise."

Amen.


Happy Sunday to you Z,

Pris

Beth said...

Except this week I convinced a mother who lost her 12 year old daughter to cancer recently to join a new book club with me and so we read the first book, went to the first discussion, and were told that NEXT month was going to be "My Sister's Keeper" and I thought to myself what TERRIBLE timing.

Linda said...

I've read this before, and it brought tears to my eyes then, and now!

I truly believe that our Lord can and does use 'coincidences' to show Himself to us.

As to the book, My Sister's Keeper, maybe that lady was blessed by it.

Blessings to you this Lord's day, Z!

I also love that song!

Always On Watch said...

Z,
Your best Sunday faith blog ever, IMO.

Thanks for posting this.

In difficult times such as Mr. AOW and I are enduring, it's difficult to remember that His eye is still on us.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's turn it around and admit to ourselves that it is much more important for US to keep our eyes on HIM than the other way 'round.

••• "ALL things work together for good to those who love God." •••

God iS All-IN-All.

If that is so, why shouldn't He be found in Starbucks -- or in a back alley -- or even in LAS VEGAS?

~ FreeThinke

Jen said...

Thanks for posting this, Z.
I needed it.
--------
"God iS All-IN-All.

If that is so, why shouldn't He be found in Starbucks -- or in a back alley -- or even in LAS VEGAS?"

Thanks for that reminder, FreeThinker...I needed it.

FairWitness said...

Wow, Z. Who knew that the progressive Starbucks would the venue for this message from God? It rpoves He is everywhere.

This story reminds me of how I met Ed, 3 years after my late husband passed away. We were both separately dragged to a nightclub by mutual business acquaitances. Ed was in San Antonio on business. I had friends who worked for the company he was calling on. This club was a dump where all the girls were dressed, make that undressed, like Brittany Spears. Neither Ed nor I would have been caught dead in a place like that had we known what the place was like. That was the night we met and I believe God fixed us up. Both of us had lost our spouses. The rest is history, Z.

Thank you for this beautiful post. God bless you, my friend.

Z said...

I don't know, I'm more comforted that he has his eyes on ME :-)
But, we do definitely want to seek him and find him in 'coincidences' like this and even places like Vegas, as FT said...or a sleazy bar in San Antonio, like Fair Witness adds!

I'm so glad you've been blessed by this story, everyone......

Faith said...

Nothing can beat the comfort of God's reminders of His presence and caring in the lives of those who belong to Him by this kind of "coincidence." It's one of the greatest experiences of faith and a faith-builder too. Thrilling. I hadn't heard this one, thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Just last week, while talking to the fellow in the produce dept. at the market, he said he forgot to pray at church for a coworker who'd had a stroke.

I told him you can do it right here, in your head, silently, God is everywhere.

Of course I told him I would say a prayer for his friend, as well.

There are no boundaries, when it comes to God.

Pris

GM Roper said...

I suspect that the lady in the story was led to that Starbucks. Things are not predestined I believe, but I don't believe in coincidences either. There is a reason for everything and I suspect God felt the singer could use some support from the piano player.

Great story, thanks

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
Today's reading was of Jesus's miracle of making the blind man see. The message is that God chooses us before we choose Him. He looks into our hearts and SEES US. We should feel secure with God on our side.

Great story, Z.

Z said...

Law and Order, don't look now, but I think you're a Lutheran :-)

Anonymous said...

"There are no boundaries, when it comes to God."

Good post, Pris. That IS the point, but I have to add we have to look for Him in order to find him.

That's what I meant when I said earlier that we should be more concerned about keeping our eyes on God than the other way 'round.

Building faith is like doing what's necessary to have a good marriage. It demands constant vigilance, constant soul-searching and constant sacrifice -- it doesn't happen automatically.

In order to have a good relationship of ANY kind one must be willing to give ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT, while not demanding much of ANYTHING from whoever else is involved. That's a hard lesson to learn, but expecting and demanding from others just DOESN'T work. It why we hate Socialism so much in fact.

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

FT...you can keep saying that many times and you're surely not wrong, but God chooses us, it's said that way at least 100 times in the Bible....saying He wants us all but He chooses us, which is a dichotomy but scriptural.

I hate to insist but I like to make sure that scriptural admonishments come first, at least at my blog, as I'm sure you'd agree. Gee, I'd hate for my eyes to be upon Him when His have left me.

WomanHonorThyself said...

hymns are so powerful Z..thank u for reminding me girl~!

Linda said...

The post about the soldier didn't publish.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
My mother would be so disappointed!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Z. My meaning doesn't seem to be getting through, but maybe it's time just to let it go.

I don't come here to argue or to try to make anyone feel unduly challenged or uncomfortable, but I do like to to share what I have come to think and believe after 60-odd years of earnest seeking.

At root all Christians want the same thing -- to know God a little better each day, and to try to understand His purpose so we can cooperate with Him more fully -- but not many Christians agree on precisely how that can and should be done.

That must be why there are so many denominations that claim to be Christian.

One of the best things about these United States -- as they were originally set up -- was that everyone has the right to think and believe -- or not to believe -- according to the dictates of his conscience.

Obviously, the views of those whose beliefs and convictions oppose and work to undermine and eliminate the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution -- like Muslim fanatics and Marxists -- should be heard, but certainly not respected. Wherever the Socialist Gospel has taken over a Church, it is no longer a CHURCH, but a political movement, instead.

It's still early in California, but it's getting late here in the east, so I should quit pounding the keys and get to bed.

All good wishes to you,

~ FT

Z said...

FT, your meaning does come through and I don't disagree...
yes, time to let it go.

L&O..that's funnY!

Linda, sorry...I took it down...too much other stuff to blog on that came up! I'll publish it soon, if you mean you saw a mention of the soldier and it suddenly isn't here?

Linda said...

Z, the title to the blog came up on my reader, and when I opened it, the page didn't exist!

I'll read it when you get it published.

Z said...

Linda, I accidentally DID post it and realized it and quickly took it off. Sorry!! That's happened before and people have been curious!!!
Thanks so much for being here. xxx