It sounds like such a small thing. But for those of us who arrive at church early to run off Sunday School materials or who enjoy partaking in a cup of joe and some conversation before the worship service begins, it becomes a little detail that makes a big difference.
One of the guys who "made the coffee" at our church died last week. Yes, Marion made the coffee for a lot of years - before Sunday School, at the bazaar, for funeral dinners, for the men's pancake feed and more.
But it wasn't just that. He quietly did a whole lot more. He and his wife stirred up "Methodist meatloaf" for some 100 funeral dinners. His family had been putting together Christmas candy bags for the church's children since 1929.
He still was doing some of those things a month ago. Once his cancer was discovered, his remaining time here on earth went quickly.
Randy and I visited the family and took some food to their home before the funeral. I took BBQ beef for a reason. That was my mother-in-law Marie's "go-to" offering to take to grieving families. And she was one of those quietly-get-things-done people at church, too. Even though she's been gone 23 years, I felt that connection of church and family ties as I shredded the beef to take to town.
Besides singing for the service, I helped with the funeral dinner, as did many others. When Randy came downstairs after completing his pall bearer duties at the cemetery, he told me, "It sure smells good down here. Actually, it smells good in the whole church."
And I thought again - as I so often do at funeral dinners - about how we are to be the "fragrance" or the "aroma" of Christ.
“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ”
2 Corinthians 2:15
Homemade French bread was something else Marion made for funeral dinners. The fragrance of homemade bread as it bakes always permeates a room. It's like doing the little things: It permeates our life and the lives of others. We become the hands and feet and heart of Christ when we do those little, sometimes "invisible," things.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love,
just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us,
an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Ephesians 5: 1-2
It will likely take more than one of us to "make the coffee" and take on some of the tasks that Marion and other pillars of the church have done for so many years. And maybe some of those tasks will evolve. It's OK to purchase French bread from the bakery aisle instead of making every loaf from scratch. But it still takes someone to plan for it and actually do it.
And if you're into "making the coffee" - either in reality or metaphorically - you might like the flavor (and aroma) of these cookies:
Cafe Coffee Cookies
Adapted from a recipe found online1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 - 2 cups cups powdered sugar (approx.)
A splash of milk may be needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat together the shortening, butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix in well.
Combine flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture on low speed, beating just until well combined. Stir in the chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on pan for 2 to 4 minutes, then remove to cool completely.
For the glaze: Dissolve espresso powder in the warm melted butter. Add powdered sugar and stir until smooth and until it's a "drizzle" consistency. In honesty, I didn't measure the glaze ingredients that well because I adapted it to include butter. I believe in flavor in any frosting or glaze. So add additional powdered sugar or a splash of milk to make it a glaze consistency. I used a decorator tube to create a more uniform drizzle over the cookies. While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle with additional chopped pecans or mini chocolate chips. (I was out of mini chocolate chips, so I didn't try that this time.) Let the drizzle dry until set.
To store, place cookies in an airtight container, putting layers of waxed paper or parchment between the layers. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.