One of life’s simple pleasures for me comes in the form of a cup of piping hot coffee.  Morning, noon, or eve; Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall; while driving, sitting at my desk, or lounging at home; anytime is the right time for a mug of my favorite beverage.  As long as it comes black with no sugar, it doesn’t matter to me if it is regular, decaffeinated, perked, dripped, or even instant.  A connoisseur I am not.  I have no need for a gourmet concoction with a six-part name, a frothy top, and the price tag of a small meal.  Just a regular cup of joe will do just fine.

When Coleman was quite young and in and out of the hospital with great frequency, a friend of ours gave us a gift basket which included a box of “Coffee Singles.”  (This was long before Keurig appeared with the greatest invention since sliced bread.)  The coffee was packaged in small, single serving-sized bags and functioned just like tea bags.  They provided a quick and convenient cup of coffee when you didn’t have either the time or the need to make a whole pot.  These proved to be very handy to have in the hospital room, and we took the remaining supply home with us when Coleman was discharged.

A few days after getting Coleman home, I decided to grill some hamburgers for supper.  While waiting for the charcoal to burn down a bit, I went into the house to get a cup of coffee.  Since there was not a fresh pot made, I decided to use one of the coffee bags.  I filled a mug (my favorite one) with water and popped it in the microwave.  As I waited for the water to boil, my mind began to wander a bit, but the familiar “ding” of the microwave snapped me back to reality.  I opened the microwave door, grabbed the hot mug, and went back outside.  As the aroma of grilling burgers filled the air, I took a few sips from my mug and thought, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

It was shortly after this that shock and amusement set in.  I had put the mug down on the patio for a moment so that I could flip the burgers over, and, as I reached down to pick it up again, I noticed that I could see straight to the bottom of the mug.  It was filled with nothing but hot water.  I experienced a very surreal moment or two, wondered if I might be on Candid Camera, and then realized what I had done.  In my haste to get back outside to the grill, I never put the coffee bag in the water.

Talk about a drinking problem!  It seems impossible.  How could I have sipped from a mug of hot water and not known that something was seriously wrong?  The answer is that everything else was just like it should have been.  I had reheated mugs of coffee hundreds of times.  There was the “ding” of the microwave.  The mug was hot and comforting in my hand.  It was my favorite mug.  The liquid was warm and soothing to my throat.  The aromatic burgers were being cooked to perfection.  Everything felt right and smelled right.  There was only one problem: no coffee.  I would probably make a great laboratory animal.

So…..I was settled into my pew on Sunday morning just like I have been on hundreds of Sundays before.  I had on my “church clothes.”  I smiled and greeted those around me.  My voice could be heard as songs of praise were sung.  I ate unleavened bread and drank the wine.  I sat quietly as the Word of God was read and expounded.  I bowed my head and even closed my eyes as petitions and thanksgivings were raised to the throne of the Father.

Everything looked like worship and sounded like worship.  So, I must have really poured out my heart in praise, right?  Maybe so.  Perhaps not.