Coffee Break?

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

A funeral home in South Carolina is placing a Starbucks coffee store in its lobby. The baristas will be wearing Starbucks uniforms and they will offer cappuccinos and lattes to mourners.

The funeral home owner is Chris Robinson. He says he hopes that the new idea of serving Starbucks coffee will help customers relax and “get their minds off of what’s going on.”

A group of people who read about this were asked to give this unique funeral home café a name. There were some very clever suggestions – “Time to Meet Your Mocha” – “Still Above Grounds Café” – “Latte for Your Own Funeral.”

We need to “get our minds on what’s going on.” Death is inevitable. It will happen to each of us.

Eugene Peterson writes of how he and his wife were visiting a Benedictine monastery named Christ in the Desert. On the way to the place where they were to have lunch, they walked past the graveyard and noticed an open grave. Peterson asked which member of the community had died recently?

The answer was, “No one.” They said, “That grave is for the next one.” You see, three times a day, as they would walk from praying to eating, members of that monastery would be reminded that one of them would be the next one. The contemplation of death was a regular feature of their understanding of life. What many people are trying to forget, this monastery was offering a constant reminder of the reality of death.

We do not need to spend an unhealthy amount of time focusing on death, but we do need to be reminded of it. I checked with the Alabama Bureau of Statistics recently and discovered that the ratio is still one to one for people who die in the State of Alabama! Everyone will die!

The big question is where will we spend eternity? Dr. Bill Bright built a great parachurch ministry based on a question “If you died right now, do you know where you would spend eternity?” That is a question with which every person must ultimately deal. The answer is essential. Starbucks can keep you awake after dark, but not after death!

Jesus said, “”I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish.” (John 11: 25, 26 NLT)

The promise of Jesus eliminates the need for a Starbucks in a funeral home or sleepless nights or worrisome days about how to deal with death. Jesus has already done that – and He invites us to follow Him.

Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 15:55, 57, “Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ.”

That is the way to deal with life and death!

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