I’ve just popped home between church events for a couple of hours to do a bit of work, drink a giant cup of tea and eat a chocolate gruffalo that I bought back from the UK (don’t ask)… And as the house is super-peacefully quiet and a surprise downpour of hail looks to keep me rooted here for another hour or so, I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you.
It was so unbelievably good to be back in my Sapporo-church this morning. Like, I had an awesome time back in the UK and I loved seeing so many people, and I was so encouraged by praying and worshipping in English and all that jazz… But it was just so great to be back in what is now my home church.
It’s just so good to be home.
Just to worship with this family, and then have lunch with these friends (my church cooks lunch and eats together every Sunday… all a-couple-of-hundred of us…), and be hugged so incredibly tightly, and arrange some tea-dates with these people that I love, and be given stuff by old Japanese ladies who I don’t understand fully but also don’t doubt love me and to just have conversations that get me a little bit more excited about what God is doing and wants to do in this place in 2015.
It’s just so good to be home.
My church is also hosting a prayer-for-revival-in-Hokkaido conference that kicks off this evening, and runs until Tuesday morning. So please pray for the people coming, speaking, leading, praying and for all that Holy Spirit will release in this time.
And around that I’m also playing some live music in my friend’s bar tomorrow night so… Yep. Prayers appreciated all round.
But, I digress. That is not the topic of today’s blog post.
Today’s blog post is about tea.
And how I was thinking that we can often approach God like we approach our tea.
Yesterday I friend of mine posted a link to a Buzzfeed article on my Facebook wall that was entitled, ‘What Does Your Tea Preference Say About You?’ Now, I’ve posted a link to the whole article at the bottom of the page (if you’re so inclined), but here are a few of my personal favourite quotes.
‘Earl grey is a solidly middle class tea’
‘I once worked for a man who owned a pet frog, and he drank rooibos tea from a wine glass.’
‘It’s a tea for people who own frog slaves.’
‘Anyone who puts any sugar in their tea is someone who doesn’t like tea. Hence the need for sugar. It’s like people who have syrup in their coffee. The worst people.’
‘Milk and two sugars is a step too far. Have a biscuit.’
‘Just get a Coke. Microwave a Coke.’
‘My mum has to have decaf tea and it makes me sad for her.’
‘People who drink green tea are searching for a sense of calm and control.’
‘Fruit tea is drunk by people who don’t know what tea is.’
‘Smells nice, tastes like death.’
‘I think everyone who drinks iced tea must have access to a veranda.’
Yep. I actually LOL’d and 555555’d at some of them.
And then I got to thinking about how we often treat our relationship with God like we treat our relationship with tea.
We think of Him as restricted to particular groups. Is He for the rich? Or the poor? Is He for the West? Or the East? Is He only for the heterosexual? Is He only for the employed? Because, surely He can’t be for everybody, right?
We think of Him as some angry distant God of the sky, drinking roobios tea on a cloud and treating us like pet-frogs. You know, living like a slave instead of a son?
We say we love God, but then we ‘sweeten’ Him to suit our own tastes. We add in our own judgements. We don’t read the Bible. We forget to pray. We want our tea sweet enough to be just like the world.
Sometimes we pretend we’re drinking tea but we might as well just go microwave a coke. Which for the record, is gross and totally not tea.
We let the world take our joy. I mean, we have been given this joy that is unshakeable by circumstance and unmoved by trial, but yet we live lives in the fear or the regret or just the sorrow that we were never meant to carry. Because our joy isn’t in that life is easy, but rather in that we are never alone and never forgotten.
We go to God when we want a sense of calm or control, but ignore Him the rest of the time. We want Him for what He can do, rather than enjoying Him for who He is.
We talk the talk and smell so good, but if anyone could look into our hearts they’d see that we’re dead on the inside.
We want the veranda more than the tea. The blessings more than the real Blessing.
And every single day I can battle in my heart against any number of those thoughts and temptations that slip in to distract me.
I can so easily treat God like I do my tea.
So which tea is God? Obviously, Earl… (I’m kidding).
Actually, if I’m going to be totally honest. For this analogy (if you’re still with me here), He’s the water.
He’s not our preferences, He’s our central. He’s not our choices. He’s our essential. And He’s not a pick for a moment, based on the mood of the moment, He’s the everlasting.
I guess I’m saying He’s the water.
His Presence in our lives makes us come alive. It’s Holy Spirit that changes us from some dried leaves in a little bag, to something majestic, and fragrant, and drinkable.
Hot water is the essential ingredient of every tea.
Holy Spirit is more than the essential ingredient of every life.
He is our very life. Eternally. And our very water. Forever.
And the hail has stopped so I’m heading back to church!
(original article here -> http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/more-tea-vicar#.ldaaOwmEa)