While walking through the mall recently (that’s a rare activity for me, in and of itself) Mary and I walked passed a little shop that specialized in tea. I stopped to look in (having been a tea drinker from way back) and decided to have a free sample of the flavor of the month. Don’t ask me what the flavor was, I don’t remember. But, I do remember that the little stop ended up costing me somewhere around $50.00 or $60.00.
I always thought something as simple as tea was something pretty simple. Boy, was I ever wrong. I didn’t want to admit to my ignorance in front of the lovely young yuppie who was helping me so I pretended to know more than I really knew. That was a mistake. Soon, Mary was in the store with me and she was caught in the tea trap as I was. Escape was going to be expensive I soon discovered and I have never been so right. I edged toward the door, but to no avail.
Taken to its serious limits tea isn’t so simple at all. There are hundreds of different blends, dozens of different kinds of brewing pots, lots of decisions to be made regarding the kind of infuser you are going to be using, untold numbers of spoons, cups, saucers and on and on. No serious tea drinker would admit to using bagged tea. There are even different kinds of sugar. I knew about the white sugar and the brown sugar and crushed sugar and cube sugar but this tea shop had some form of sugar that came from outer space or deep in the hallowed grounds of mother earth and had been sifted differently by the tear fairies or whatever. You could only buy it in “clumps” or something. I finally left the store, knowing how naïve and ill-informed I had been but not before proudly insisting that I would only purchase Fair Trade Tea, not to be confused with Free Trade Tea. The young whipper-snapper was impressed; I guess I didn’t look like the kind of customer who knew the difference. I can thank Laura for that – she brought me up to speed on that one and I agreed with her high principles when it comes to tea and coffee at least.
I guess church and faith are to me what tea is to some people. I take it more seriously than most. I study all the various shades of commitment. I think church and faith ought to be our highest priority and I can tell you all the difference of what one kind of theology leads to versa another kind of theology. Church is to me what tea was to the people who frequent that store – a serious and urgent commitment. When we value something more highly than something else we take it seriously. Just stopping by is out of the question. Commitment, serious commitment is called for. Whereas I thought a bag of tea was just a bag of tea the tea store people know better. So what’s your brew? Come on in, we have some specials for you. Maybe, just maybe what we have brewing is far more than just a simple cup of tea.