Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Clicking of Her Coffee Cup

It is such a joy to lead Evening Prayer at the Piano on Sunday nights. It’s a place where we can lift simple gifts of music and song, hear a brief homily or exhortation, and share the weekly feast of communion. It is warm and vibrant and personal. In some ways, it feels more like the ancient ways of worship for most Christians in history than what many churches do on Sunday mornings.

Last night, I shared a story about my mother with the people gathered. When I was young and growing up with three brothers, our house could definitely be rowdy at times. Yet one place of calm in the daily storm of activity was that my mother always carved out her morning quiet time.

That’s what she called it, simply “quiet time.” She insisted on it. Every morning for at least 45 minutes, after the morning rush to get my older brothers off to school but before she settled into the day, she sat with her coffee. She had sacred space for this holy time … she sat in a particular upholstered rocking chair with brown and rust colored stripes in the kitchen. As a child, I can remember the sound of her coffee cup clicking against the saucer. That was the sound of prayer, because when I heard that clicking from other parts of the house I knew Mom was still having her time alone.

We learned as children that unless it was an emergency, we didn’t bother Mom during her quiet time. We also learned that because of this, she was always really, really good to us the rest of the day! What I didn’t realize until I was older was that Mom was giving me a gift. She was a witness to her love of God by making time with God a priority in her life. She was ingraining in my own life and habits the hunger of the heart.

Some of the other participants at Evening Prayer last night, who happened to remember my mom from her involvement in the Walk to Emmaus, shared some of their memories of her speaking and leading and encouraging women. She had a ministry both within and beyond the local church. It warmed my heart to hear how she had touched some of them long ago.

But today, I am not thinking of the four UMW special recognition pins I inherited from her or all her many accomplishments and speaking engagements. I am simply hearing the clicking of her coffee cup on the saucer, and letting that strangely sweet, holy sound of prayerfulness resonate in my soul.