Coffee on the Wall

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As mentioned in the minutes, Rose Marie Hess read this piece at the October HG meeting. It was suggested that we could sponsor or get the ball rolling for an event such as this for students in the college who are on a very limited budget. Lots of discussion took place and it was decided it was a complex undertaking. It was suggested that Food Services and the Student Association be involved. Rose was asked to talk to John Reimers about it in November and we will see where it goes from there.

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I sat with my friend in a well known coffee shop in a small town on the outskirts of Venice, Italy, the city of lights and water. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying. “Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.” We heard this order and were intrigued when we observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two. When the man left, the waiter put a piece of paper on the wall on which was written “A Cup of Coffee.” While we were still there, two other men entered to coffee shop and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he put a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee.” It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left.

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A few days later we had the chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a poorly dressed man came into the coffee shop. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, “One cup of coffee from the wall.” The waiter served this coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying.

We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the garbage can. Now the whole turn of events was no longer a surprise to us; the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes well up in tears. Ponder upon the need of what this man wanted. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem… he has no need to ask for a cup of coffee… without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him… he only looked on the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed the coffee and left. A truly beautiful thought and probably the most beautiful wall you may ever see anywhere!

Before we say something like, “That’s all well and good, but you know what will happen, some people who can afford to pay will abuse the system and rip us off. So best not to donate anything!” We need to ask ourselves why we give to charities and to beggars on the street? Our answers will of course vary; however, the Lord provides abundantly for our needs and asks us to be good stewards of his gifts and to share from our bounty to those in need of assistance. Ours is not the question why or to set limits and boundaries as to how the funds we give are to be used. Once the funds are given, they are no longer ours; they belong to the one receiving them. Think on this too. The Lord provides for our needs and doesn’t dictate how we use or misuse his gifts. I think Jesus might say something like…Go and do likewise! Buy a cup of coffee for the wall at the nearest Fast Food Outlet.

Deacon Philip

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