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Coffee and Spirituality

Tea has a reverent background associated with meditation, healing and spiritual practices. Wine also plays a significant role in most Christian churches today used in Holy Communion and is also the basis of most social gatherings. Coffee enjoys most of its popularity around reviving tired and grumpy people and yet coffee deserves some of the reverence that tea and wine enjoy as well.

Coffee was first discovered, as legends go, in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is located in the horn of Africa, a peninsula which juts out like a horn on the eastern side of the continent. According to those in the know, Ethiopian Coffee is grown and harvested with love and how better to express that love than with a ceremony. Of course, in a place where coffee was born and existed before the advent of man, surely reverence to coffee should be paid and as it turns out, it is. A special ceremony is performed in many Ethiopian households three times a day. This brings not just a family together but the community as well.

However, coffeeís beginnings in Ethiopia were not really as smooth as this story leads you to believe. While it was linked to religion and even miraculous cures, it was also the subject of much debate amongst Muslims. With the Quran forbidding the use of wine many felt coffee should also be forbidden but others argued that it was a stimulant and not an intoxicant and thereby should be allowed. It was also banned in the Ethiopian Church and eyed with the suspicion surrounding tobacco and other drugs in the 17th century.

While coffee is not used as a sacrament in any churches today, it is used as a tool to foster a sense of community. The Coffee Hour was a social time immediately following the church service I attended as a child. I always enjoyed this time, even though I didnít drink coffee, it felt like a party where everyone was relaxed and happy.

While coffee may never enjoy the same reputation as tea or wine when it comes to spiritual and religious practices, no one can deny that coffee has a way of bringing people together which really makes it magical in its own way. It creates a celebratory atmosphere much like wine and yet you donít have to worry about designated drivers.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Gayle E. Santana. All rights reserved.
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