The Green Apron
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. 1 Peter 1:1-2
The Apostle Peter writes this letter to the churches at the height of Emperor Nero’s persecution of Christians. I can only imagine the battle going on their minds as they see their loved ones left and right being blamed, persecuted, and tortured for their faith. Followers of Christ had literally been set apart as scapegoats in Rome. Peter speaks to the torment in their minds and hearts and says, “Yes, you have been set apart, not by Nero, but by a higher authority. You have all been permanently marked by the blood of Christ. So, even in the midst of the worst possible circumstances, you will have what you need in fullest measure: grace where none is given and peace where chaos abounds. You may be scattered by persecution, but You have been commissioned by Christ to live and serve those around you.”
Friday night Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, Interim Pastor Rod Shimabukuro, the New Hope Legacy Board, and many from the congregation handed Cyndi & I a paddle, and a plaque and prayed over us a prayer of commission! The presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable in that place, but was not meant to stay there! We were all, in that moment, commissioned to be Christ to the Big Island. All over this island right now working at dealerships, resorts, grocery stores, gas stations, schools, and homes are the scattered saints of New Hope Legacy who have been given grace and peace in fullest measure. We have all been sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Why is it important that we understand we have been marked by Christ? Let me explain it by using an example from today. This was my first day at my part time job here at the Henry St. Starbucks. After the interviews and the paperwork were all approved I was handed a green apron. This apron is to be worn at all times when working on the floor. It is to be taken off when I’m on break or lunch. People will know, no matter where they are from, that when the green apron is on “I’m on” to serve them a handcrafted beverage and a legendary customer experience . I am studying a number of manuals that tell me what is expected of me when I’m wearing this apron. This Starbucks I was hired at is the busiest in Kona with over a 1000 customers a day coming through in the lobby and drive-through. These customers will expect the same from me as they do from a Starbucks partner in Seattle or San Francsisco, Japan or Greenland, Bakersfield or Brisbane because all 160,000 of us have the same mark- a green apron. So too, we followers of Christ, have been marked by His blood. We have also been given a manual by which to live that, like today’s scriptures, reminds us of whats expected. When under pressure, working hard, enduring loss, celebrating milestones, on weekdays or weekends, at the beach or in the back room people should see Christ when they see us! This means that whether I’m standing behind the pulpit on Sundays or pulling shots on Mondays I need to know I’m here to serve.
Oh Lord, I’m so thankful that you don’t give me a skimpy amount of grace and peace. You pour it out on me! I’m so glad You don’t just mark an elite spiritual few. Everyone who follows You has been permanently marked by Your blood! There will be many opportunities in this Starbucks to show attitude instead of grace and to be stressed instead of walking in Your peace. I’m not sure how long You are going to have me here but I pray that as long as I am, every partner and customer would see You. I pray this not only for me, but for my New Hope Ohana all over this island. We may not all be wearing green aprons, but we have all been marked by Your precious Blood and are exactly where You have commissioned us to serve!