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Coffee and the Role of Hawaiian Rainwater 

(a Steve Orr scripture reflection)


We've been lucky enough to do some ocean cruising, to see some of the world and expand our understanding of other peoples and cultures. When our cruise ships dock, we make a point of choosing excursions that get us out of the port and away from all the touristy money-sucks. We prefer for our money to support locals: families, business owners, and, most especially, farmers. 


This kind of thinking led us to spend an entire day working at a coffee collective high in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. We learned a lot about the process of taking coffee from farm to grocery aisle. The experience really whetted our appetite for more coffee knowledge. 


So, on our first day on the big island of Hawaii, we chose an excursion to a small, locally-owned coffee farm, well up in the hills west of Hilo. Due to its small size, we were much closer to some of the processes than we had been in the Dominican Republic. Some people just know how to tell a story, and our guide that day was certainly one of them. He was unhurried, comfortable to be with, and open to our questions. His knowledge of the coffee process was unmistakable. It probably helped that his family owned the farm. 

Contrary to what you might expect, no two coffee operations work exactly the same. These Hawaiians, for example, used the wet method of coffee bean processing versus the dry method used in the Dominican Republic. That’s the step we were learning about when our guide spoke some magical words. 


We were standing next to open vats filled with coffee beans floating in water. He explained that his family’s commitment to natural processing included allowing the beans to soak for a few days in ... Hawaiian rainwater


As a group, we sighed aloud: “Ahhhhhh.” 

I imagine we were all thinking something like: “How special. How unique. When I get home and serve my friends this coffee, I’m going to love telling them what makes it so special!”


And then he said, “Or, as we like to call it here in Hawaii: rainwater.”


Perspective. It’s important. 


For us—at least for a moment—Hawaiian rainwater was magical. It’s a rare day, however, that some rain doesn’t fall in Hawaii. From our guide’s perspective, Hawaiian rainwater was an everyday occurrence.


How we think about the coming week's four scripture passages is all bound up in our perspective. If we perceive the Ten Commandments as dictatorial, we will likely respond negatively to them. But what if we perceive them as an invitation to a better life, to wisdom, and to a good relationship with God and one another? That’s a pathway toward spiritual maturity. 


Similarly, if our perspective on Jesus cleansing the Temple is that he just “lost it” and began beating everyone and everything with a whip, we’re likely to come to a self-defeating conclusion. On the other hand, if we perceive those Temple-occupiers as Jesus saw them—thieves who had inserted themselves between the people and God—then we could find ourselves on a path toward wisdom.


We need God’s wisdom as explained in the 1 Corinthians passage. Without it, our perspective has no compass. We simply respond to any stimuli: slap for slap, eye for eye, life for life.


God offers wisdom. All we need do is ask. When we seek it, God gives us ears to hear and will bless us with clear spiritual vision.


It changes our perspective. 






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