Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sparrow At Starbucks

Every now and then I get a chain email that compels my attention to read rather than delete it.  The email I am about to share with you, The Sparrow at Starbucks, is just one of those inspirational  emails that brought tears to my eyes and I was so glad that I read, and not deleted it.  So here it is, for those of you who have not read The Sparrow at Starbucks...The song that silenced the cappuccino machine.

It was chilly in   Manhattan but warm inside the  Starbucks shop on 51st Street and  Broadway, just a skip up from Times  Square . Early November weather in New York  City holds only the slightest hint of  the bitter chill of late December and January, but  it’s enough to send the  masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and  warmth.

For a musician, it’s the most lucrative  Starbucks location in the world, I’m told, and consequently,  the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right.  Apparently, we were striking all the  right chords that night, because our basket was almost  overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig – I was playing  keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added  rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly  did pop songs from the ’40s to the ’90s with a few original  tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the  classic, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” I noticed a lady  sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was  swaying to the beat and singing along.

After the tune  was over, she approached me. “I apologize for singing along  on that song. Did it bother you?” she asked. “No,” I  replied. “We love it when the audience joins in. Would you  like to sing up front on the next selection?”

To my  delight, she accepted my invitation.. “You choose,” I said.  ”What are you in the mood to sing?”

“Well. … do you  know any hymns?”

Hymns? This woman didn’t know who  she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was  even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a  knowing look. “Name one.”

“Oh, I don’t know. There  are so many good ones. You pick one.”

“Okay,” I  replied. “How about ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’?”

My  new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her  eyes on mine again and said, “Yeah. Let’s do that one.”

She  slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her  jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar  setup, she began to sing.

Why should I be  discouraged? Why should the shadows  come?

The audience of coffee  drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the  cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they  were doing to listen. The song rose to its  conclusion.

I sing because I’m happy; I sing because  I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow And  I know He watches me.

When the last note was sung,  the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have  rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the  woman tried to shout over the din, “Oh, y’all go back to  your coffee! I didn’t come in here to do a concert! I just  came in here to get somethin’ to drink, just like you!” But  the ovation continued..

I embraced my new friend.  ”You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was  beautiful!”

“Well, it’s funny that  you picked that particular  hymn,” she said.

“Why is that?”

“Well . ..”  she hesitated again, “that was my daughter’s favorite  song.”

“Really!” I exclaimed.

“Yes,” she said,  and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had  subsided and it was business as usual.. “She was 16. She  died of a brain tumor last week.”

I said the first  thing that found its way through my stunned silence. “Are  you going to be okay?”

She smiled through tear-filled  eyes and squeezed my hands. “I’m gonna be okay. I’ve just  got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and  everything’s gonna be just fine.”

She picked up her bag,  gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just  a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that  particular coffee shop on that particular
November night?  Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk  into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns  to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that  was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just  the week before? I refuse  to believe it.

 God has been arranging  encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and  it’s no stretch for me to imagine that God could reach into a  coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an  ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great  reminder that if we keep trusting God and singing  the songs,   everything’s gonna be  okay.     The next time you feel  like GOD can’t use YOU, just  remember…
Noah was a   drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a  daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was  abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was  afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab  was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too  young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah  was suicidal Isaiah preached  naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job  went  bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter  denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while  praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan  woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too  small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an  ulcer…
AND Lazarus was dead!
No more excuses  now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you  aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.
God  bless you by passing this on to someone  else, if you’d  like.
There is NO LUCK attached.
If you delete  this, it’s okay: God’s Love Is Not Dependent On  E-Mail.
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matthew 6:26

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  1. Anonymous1:04 AM

    Absolutely beautiful.

    Thank you so much.

  2. Hi Anonymous:

    I thought it was beautiful, too.

    Thank you for stopping and visiting here. Blessings to you.