Recently, I spent some time at Café Why Not?, a parachurch organization designed to reach the lost in Germany through their coffeehouse, language school and ministry to refugees. I sat down at one of the wooden tables and closed my eyes. No music was being played over the speakers, so I just enjoyed the beautiful melodies of many languages being spoken all at once. A different kind of music. I opened my eyes to realize people were seated next to me at my table. It surprised me at first, but I quickly brushed it off as no big deal. This is simply a part of German culture. Different than my individualized culture, I realized. I closed my eyes again and heard Spanish, Turkish, Syrian, Arabic, German, Nigerian, Congolese, Polish, English, all in one room. It was one of the most ironic and beautiful things I have ever heard. At this point, I realized, I’m really not in the Chicago suburbs anymore.
All of a sudden someone begins playing a classical piece on the piano; perhaps Debussy. It’s coming from the next room where worship services are held at night and on the weekends. The coffee shop continues to serve anyone who walks in. “How is it that all this can exist in one place?” I think to myself. Am I catching a slight glimpse of what heaven will be like? If I weren’t here today for this meeting, and if the person I were meeting with weren’t running late, I would have missed out on this multi-lingual and multi- generational expression of worship and fellowship.
I also think about how I’ve chosen to be in this country and chosen to be in this coffee shop today for a meeting. Then a Syrian couple walks in. I can’t imagine they have the same “choice” or reason for coming into Café Why Not today. Their lives are likely feeling torn apart as they seek asylum in this strange new land. Perhaps knowing no one. They have very few choices right now. It seems as if God is orchestrating the myriad of languages, worship and the presence of this Syrian couple. I witness each layer of this beautiful arrangement, piece by piece. Each person, including me, is playing part of the song and forming something heavenly.
I took a second to stop and just be present in the moment.
This is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me. This was my afternoon. What could your train ride, your commute, your lunch break or simply your walk down the street lead you to see? Some say Café Why Not is just a café. And for some, that is all it will ever be. But for others, who take time to stop and listen to the music — they see God doing amazing things here. Close your eyes and be present to the people and things surrounding you. It is in these quiet moments of reverence to the Holy Spirit that the ordinary becomes extraordinary. This is worship.