Friday, 22 January 2010

Thoughts arising from an affogato.

For some time I have fancied myself as an expert on the delights of affogatos, well, affogati to be technically correct. An affogato is delightful Italian beverage made by taking a scoop of very rich, preferably homemade, vanilla ice cream placing it in a white coffee cup and then slowly pouring a perfectly prepared espresso, with a creamy froth, all over the ice cream. The Italian word affogato literally means drowned. The end result is a delectable taste experience that personally gives me a huge amount of pleasure.

Here in Taupo a cafe has opened up called Kaffee Eis that features, along with a very good selection of antipodean coffee offerings such as flat whites, short blacks and long blacks, classic Italian drinks such as cappuccino and of course affogato. The added bonus is the ice cream counter which specialises in a selection of really good homemade ice cream.  Well the combination has proved a winner. They do a roaring trade not least from the Galpins when we are in Taupo.  We have been disciplined about it and only go on Friday afternoons to the cafe. Our little treat at the end of the week. We go through the ritual of selecting our ice cream and being a purist I always go for vanilla. Linda however has more cosmopolitan tastes and will go for panna cotta, straciattela or when needs demand it, chocolate.

We are evangelistic about it. Many friends here have been wooed into the pleasurable experience.

Travelling as we do with Fatherheart Ministries means that our visits to Kaffee Eis and savouring its pleasures are now not so frequent. However I have managed to include a reference to my enjoyment of affogati in a teaching that I have been developing on the happiness of God. I have been excited to see what the Bible says brings pleasure to him beginning with his joy in creation and the heart warming declaration that his creation is good and mankind the crown of his creation as very good;  the Father's pleasure in his beloved Son and in particular how he cannot keep silent when Jesus begins his ministry; how at this baptism the Father declares him to be his beloved son. Then again on the mountain of transfiguration, the Father, revealing the glory of his Son again describes him as his beloved Son in whom he delights Matt 17:5.  Finally the astonishing realisation that God our Father also delights in us as his sons and daughters and that he lavishes his love upon us.  This clearly brings him great pleasure and joy. It is amazing that  Jesus says in Jn 17:26 "the love with which you have loved me may be in them and I in them.”

I can hardly imagine enjoying something that is most enjoyable with unbounded energy and passion forever!

This is not our experience in this world because nothing has a personal worth great enough to meet our deepest longings.  Also we lack the strength and capacity to enjoy the best things to the maximum basically we get bored! And of course all our joys here come to an end, - nothing lasts. I realised this afresh today because it is Friday, we are in Taupo, and Kaffee Eis is calling. With great anticipation we went to our pleasure palace of affogato delights. We waited in line, placed our order and watched to our horror as the ice cream was put in a tacky plastic cup, the coffee lacked its distinctive froth and was far too runny. In fact it more than drowned the ice cream, it turned it into a runny coffee milk shake. All my anticipation dissipated in a few moments. My pleasure was so fleeting and misplaced. We sat by the lake. Mused about the brevity of sensual and human pleasure. Then reflected on the Father's pleasure.

All this changes when the Father’s pleasure in his Son becomes our pleasure too. Jesus 'personal worth is inexhaustible to meet our deepest longings. He never ceases to delight in us and fill us with the same joy that he had.  Thankfully he will never become boring, disappointing or frustrating and our ability to enjoy him will not be limited by our human weakness and frailty.  The real joy is the knowledge that this will never end because neither Father nor Son will ever end. The Father’s delight in his Son will be in us and it will be ours. As a result our pleasure and love being in them will never end.

The Father had such incredible open hearted intimacy with his Son. All this overflows onto us too who through Jesus have become the sons and daughters of God. No angel has received such honour and affection as the Son has received and shares with us. This is the glorious inheritance that we share as joint heirs with Jesus.  It is no wonder that our Father is such a happy Father, this is his glory, this is real pleasure.

As for an affogato....I'm over it.  Well, mostly.

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