Coffee Black


Most merciful God, We confess that we have sinned against you In thought, word, and deed,

All language, action, any twitch of spirit, swipe of the hand, swipe of card,all adornment, any symbol or the lack of any symbol, any icon or the lack of any icon, all naves, narthexes, transepts, any foyer with donut platters, paper cups, and Gospel tracts, whether forefathers’ common chalice or individually juiced cuplets, whether red door or glass, whether recitation of the old, old story, whether prayer with saints, the rooted liturgy, or lesser laser lights, whether incense or fog machine— it all speaks a thing of God.


We have sinned by what we have done, and by what we have let undone.

These are the thoughts I sometimes carry in my wallet, between the sheaves in briefcase, or in the brown leather change purse I sought like Italy’s lost lamb.


We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves

Tuesday’s barista poured my coffee, slid it across the counter unsleaved, and unlidded. I scattered seven silver pieces across the counter, without dispensing pleasantries; a quarter spun like a top of happy accidents.


We are truly sorry and We humbly repent

“Room for cream?” she asked; Palm down, I waived my hand across the counter in an act of certitude, of final consecration.

“It would be a sacrilege,” I smiled, and she smiled like my neighbor-girl. “Bold words,” she said; I nodded and carried the secret of the best theology I know: all good things needn’t be complimented by too much cream.

Have mercy and forgive us.




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