One of my favorite parts about growing up in a British-American household has been the art of drinking tea.
I call it an art because there are several steps to enjoying a good cup of tea: boiling the water, “warming the teapot”- this consists of taking a little of the piping hot water and swirling it inside of the teapot and then leaving that water in the teapot before adding your tea and the rest of the boiling water, making sure everyone’s tea is to their liking (milk, no sugar, thanks), allowing the tea to steep for just the right amount of time (approximately 4-5 minutes, depending upon the strength you desire), and finally, sipping on that steaming cup of tea.
The art of drinking tea happens in my family’s household every day, when we get home from work, typically between 4 and 6 PM. Although the process of drinking tea only takes a few minutes, it is during this time that I have found the most enjoyment. It sets my family up for conversation, particularly about the highs and lows of our day.
When watching British television shows or movies, or when visiting with relatives in UK, this practice takes place the instant you are invited into someone’s house. You may be complete strangers, but by golly, you will be offered a hot drink. My Mum and I always joke when we hear someone offered a hot drink. Television shows are particularly good at depicting this illustration. Someone is invited into a house. Their world is crumbling apart. And the first thing that is said by the host or hostess is, “I’ll put on the kettle for a cup of tea.” I find this comical, and yet, maybe British culture is onto something.
Periodically throughout Scripture, verses speak about people gathering together to eat and drink. There is something beautiful in the breaking of bread together, or having a drink together. It is in these moments that life is shared more intimately.
Do you know of a friend or family member who is going through a stressful time in their life?
Perhaps offering refuge to a loved one really ought not to be complicated.
What if all a hurting person needed was a cup of tea, or coffee, and a space to be invited into? Allowing someone into your home to take refuge, to find peace from a personal crisis, can be simple.
Refuge, as I think God intended it to be, looks like this:
Come into my home, no matter how many dirty dishes there are in the sink, or toys on the floor. I’ll serve you something to drink or eat. We can chat, or not. You can feel safe in this moment to share what’s on your mind. I can pray for you. You can be who God created you to be and I will not try to change you. I will allow God to do the changing, if necessary.
Will you try this for me? The next time someone you care for texts you not knowing what to do, invite them over. Put on the kettle. Let them take refuge, and just see how God shows up in that moment of sipping on your tea together.
Original blog posted 01/17/16