The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

It is well with my soul.

Every Thursday morning, I go to the Starbucks near my apartment on my way to work. Thursday is sort of my Friday because Friday is may day off, but Thursdays are also known to be one of the busier days around the office. So I pre-emptively reward myself by grabbing a tall soy latte in my Sojourners mug.

This particular Thursday morning has seemed like a good one from the get-go. It started with a phone call full of good news from a good friend last night, and then I actually got up when my first alarm went off (I can count on my hands the number of times this has happened); my parents are here; I'm wearing clothes I really like; the sun is shining; it's almost Christmas; you know, all those really important things.

Upon entering Starbucks, there was a guy in front of me who I thought was going to put a damper on my so far awesome morning. He was looking at text messages to get orders for like five different people and they were all stereotypically complicated. (Seriously, though. One asked for 1.5 inches of room for cream -- no joke.) But then a second register opened up and I no longer had to wait! But then it was a new employee's first transaction. Fortunately, I am actually a great person for this to happen to, because I just smiled and said, "no worries!" when he forgot his employee number, struggled to punch all the right buttons, and fumbled with putting those little post-its on my cups. It's probably overwhelming to be at your first shift at the Starbucks register just before 9am on a wintry workday.

And though this might have been enough for me to say, "What a great Thursday!" already, it kept getting better!

As I waited for my drinks (behind the guy waiting for five) we both noticed that the barista was singing "It is Well With My Soul" to himself, never mind the glitzy Christmas music pumping through the sound system. I smiled to myself and tweeted about it, because I thought that was going to be the best thing that happened during my eight minutes in Starbucks. Then the hymn-singing barista asked the guy waiting for the five drinks who they were all for. It turns out he was taking them to his wife and her fellow teachers at a nearby elementary school -- today's their last day before break, and it'll be a doozy, he said. What a week to be an elementary school teacher. I take back the things I assumed about that 1.5-inches for cream person. I'm sure he/she is a fantastic educator.

Following this exchange, the guy with the five drinks asked the barista if he knew the origins of the song he was singing. The barista replied with something about a shipwreck and the songwriter keeping faith even when he'd lost his family. (I googled it when I got to work and that's basically the story. I had no idea!) He then says, "I hope I never lose my family that way." Five drinks guy says, "I hope I never lose my family."

Suddenly, it's not such a light-hearted exchange.

Then, as he puts my soy latte in my Sojourners mug on the bar, he comments that he loves Jim Wallis. "Like Jim, I'm just trying to stick to some principles in a pretty corrupt world, you know?" I didn't really know what to say -- this same barista has probably made me 15 lattes in this same mug and never once said anything about it. Fortunately, five drinks guy asked the barista if he got Sojourners' newsletter in his email. He does. Five drinks guy and I think this is just great.

As I'm putting the lid on my latte, the woman waiting next to me comments on the totally cool engineering of my mug -- it has a lid that just snaps in instead of screwing on and it's a mug that looks like a mug, not just some stainless steel cylinder thing. I don't think it's remarkable, per se, but I do love it.

She then asks where I got it -- I explain that it's from Sojourners -- a progressive, social-justice-centered Christian organization. Then five drinks guy asks me if I get the newsletter [at which point I'm thinking, I have this mug dude. I'm probably a Jim Wallis groupie] and I say that I do and that I get the sermon prep materials. "Oh, you're a pastor? My mom's a Presbyterian minister!" the mug-engineering-fan lady says. I smile and tell them I serve at Holy Trinity Lutheran over on Caley and Lakeview. They think that's just great. The man she's with takes a photo of the Sojourners logo on my mug so he can go on the website and check it out.

We all have our drinks in hand now. Well, five drinks guy has his in one of those carry things. We all smile. We have no further reason to be standing in the way of the now almost-out-the-door line of patrons. I say, "Have a great day, y'all!" and head out the door, still kind of in disbelief that this whole exchange just took place.

Thanks, Jim Wallis, for making this a great day to be alive.

Carry me through, Lord. Carry me through.

Kyrie, eleison. Christe, eleison.