Angels, St Francis & Coffee

Angels and St Francis have been hovering in my life these past weeks, both making their presence felt. This Sunday 4th October is the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the 12th century Italian saint who is perhaps best known for his simple life and his love of animals and the natural world. Tuesday 29th September was the feast of St Michael and All Angels. St Michael is one of the four traditional biblical Archangels along with Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel. Today, 1st October, is World Coffee Day. And I’d like to suggest that between those three can be held all of Creation. They are all linked!!  

St Francis teaches us the intrinsic value of all created beings, that they all reflect the nature and beauty of God in their own unique ways. From the humblest insect to the mighty oak, from ocean plankton to the orca, from the new-born lamb to the greatest human genius. Every one of them – of us – has a part to play in this incredibly interdependent and interlinked world.

And that includes coffee farmers, and the land they grow their coffee on. And the whole ecosystem that supports them, the environment that makes our morning latte or espresso possible. The economics that enables it – and which in many cases also oppresses those at the bottom of the chain.

In the West we appear increasingly addicted to our coffee fix. I certainly enjoy my daily brew.  Recently I’ve chosen, to savour my morning coffee. To stop. To pause. To stare in wonder at the world around me. Being mindful of the whole incredible process that brought this cup of steaming liquid – aroma rising and comforting – into my hands

From the insects in the soil, to the beans that became a tree that in turn produced more beans. The grower who nurtured it, the labourer who harvested it, the ship that transported it. The lorry that took it to the roastery. The person who roasted and packed it, so that you (or a barista) could make that coffee for you.

I am drawn to the sheer number of invisible people’s hands my cup of coffee has passed through before it got to me. Who are they? Just because I can’t see them does not mean they are faceless, nameless individuals.  What are their hopes and dreams?

And the angels watch over all of this. There are 350 references to angels in the bible Jesus says that each of us has a guardian angel. They are God’s messengers who speak healing and peace and comfort to us. They bring us opportunity. They can sometimes save us from disaster when we follow their quiet prompting.

With your next coffee (or tea) just sit awhile and ponder. Let your guardian angel bring you peace. And may you know, as did Francis, the incredible beauty of the web of life that we are privileged to be part of.

With love, light and blessings,
Revd. Talisker