Every year, September 29 is celebrated as International or National Coffee Day. USA Today has published a list of discounts and promotions various coffee purveyors are offering. Some are on the day itself, but note, since the 29th is a Sunday, several are actually this Friday. September 29 is also usually the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, though in most places this year, its liturgical observance will be transferred from the Lord’s Day to Monday, September 30. Retailers always move festivals earlier (as we know from Christmas), liturgists usually move them later. Regardless of when you celebrate coffee, which may well be every morning, here is a triad of liturgical resources for the beverage.
A couple years ago during a particularly stressful season, I found relief in composing a stanza about an archangel of coffee for the Michaelmas hymn, “Christ, the Fair Glory of the Holy Angels.” If you are unfamiliar with the hymn, you’ll find a fine recording here and the text and other information at hymnary.org I designated the archangel Haniel (“Joy of God”) as the coffee archangel.
Send thine archangel Haniel with coffee,David R. Bains, 2017
kindness from heaven, may it vouchsafe to us
dark-roasted solace, eager stimulation
making us praise thee.
Earlier that year, I taught a Christian Worship class at 8 a.m. That is early for undergraduates on my campus. So, to encourage early morning wakefulness and teach them the form of berakot before food, I offered them the following.
Blessed are you Lord, God of all creation; you cause coffee to grow in the tropics; planted, picked, roasted, and brewed by many hands,David R. Bains, 2017
may it stimulate us to your will.
This semester, some of my students are studying religion in Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood. One of the neighborhoods unique institutions is The Abbey. Until this summer it was run by the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama as a commercial coffeehouses as well as a church. It continues to serve coffee and free breakfast five days a week and to hold Sunday afternoon services. In her fieldnotes from a recent visit one of my students included this collect posted at The Abbey.
Almighty God, who in your mercy provides all things for our goodwill and maintenance, pour out your blessings upon the farmers, harvesters, distributors, roasters, baristas, and all others who participate in the manifold tasks required to provide your people with that most useful beverage, coffee, that we, your church, might continue to reap the benefits of this beverage for the glory of your kingdom and the sake of your only son our savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.Prayer seen posted at The Abbey, Birmingham, Alabama, September 2019.