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By Gil Cleland Pastor at Sanctuary London


"Father Gil, Do you like coconut water?" Anne turned to ask me.

Some of the folks in our community have given me the name "father." Anne and I were sitting beside one another at Sanctuary's art drop in while listening to New Orleans Jazz station on "Google Play." The drop-in was fairly quiet that day. Anne, an elderly gentle woman who has shared that she has not always been as gentle or loving, seemed to be hard at work on her own painting. As I painted details on boulders from a landscape of Northern Ontario, Anne addressed me. She stared through her glasses with her head down, covered in her warm winter hat. "Well, do you?" She repeated impatiently.

Caught off guard even after the second ask, I stumbled, "What?"

"I asked you if you like coconut water." Anne spoke quietly and directly.

"Actually, yes. Just started to drink it a few weeks ago. I read that it's a good source of electrolytes so I try to have one before I run." I shared.

"Now I understand..." Anne walked away to the front of Sanctuary's office space. I could not help ask myself 'understand what?'

She returned with a juice box of coconut water in her hands and reclaimed her spot on the green sofa. She recalled this story, "I was down at the market this morning and I heard clearly, 'Father needs some coconut water.' I wondered what that meant but I bought it for you. Here, take this. God wants you to have this." And Anne handed me the coconut water.

I responded, "Thank-you so much! I was planning on running home - 10km's. After drop in."

"Praise God that he wants to take care of you," smiled Anne.

So many of my days are filled with big issues like Justice, poverty, and reconciliation among people groups. I begin at times to believe that God only cares about big issues like that. But in moments like this, I am reminded of a God who cares for the smallest of details. God will go to great lengths to show his to us. Even use a juice box of coconut water.