Tonight I walked into Kool Beanz Cafe, the coffee shop a few blocks from home, for an end-of-day coffee. Victoria, the owner, pointed out a jar on the cabinets behind the front counter. Lemon drops. I smiled as she explained that someone had brought them in a few days ago, asked whether I still frequented there, and then left them for me to find.
So I explained the lemon drop story to her…
A few Koinonia retreat weekends ago, lemon drops came up in a friend’s talk on the weekend. A group of us started discussing our shared love of lemon drops, and eventually a “tradition” started to form, which took root over subsequent Koinonia weekends, of lemon drops symbolizing prayers. Some of us keep lemon drops handy with us, others keep them in bowls on our desks. Some of us do both. But the idea is the same:
If you take a lemon drop, you have to say a prayer. If you need a prayer, you can eat a lemon drop as you say it. The lemon drop carries the sourness and bitterness of the pain that often leads to prayer, but also the sweetness of the suffering and in the redemption and grace God provides.
I’ll just say that some days I eat a lot of lemon drops!
And the jar… the Wheat!
Then I noticed the jar… it was engraved with the artwork of a stalk of wheat. So I had to ask whether my friend who left the lemon drops had left the jar. “No,” she said, “it was just handy and what I grabbed to put the lemon drops into.”
I explained how Wheat plays such a key and meaningful role in the theology and the makeup of a Koinonia retreat weekend. The wheat ties to the theme of Koinonia, the Paschal Mystery (the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus). It represents our own dying to self in prayer and in action, for ourselves, for each other, and for the world.
How amazing and powerful (a “God Wink”, some might say) that the lemon drops behind the counter just so happened to end up in a jar of wheat.
“That’s the Holy Spirit”, I said as I prepared to leave.
“Yes, it is,” Victoria replied.