A few days ago another lady and I loved a group of homeless women at a special tea held just for them at a local Rescue Mission. Cloth table cloths, colorful plates and napkins, centerpieces with potted plants and ceramic birds, homemade cookies and red velvet cupcakes. There were hand painted ceramic cups to replace the usual Mission donations that had a Seattle Seahawk's logo or an encouragement to bank at the credit union.
Some of the women were stunned. Some were suspicious. Some asked where the coffee was. All warmed to the idea as quickly as a tea cosy absorbs the heat from the pot.
My husband always laughs at how two men can ride to the top floor and never break the silence in the elevator but two women can go a few floors and discover where shoes are on sale, how to potty train a toddler and when the next season of Downton Abbey will be out on DVD. The tea was a delightful demonstration of that very connectedness.
We all guard our hearts and the homeless more so than most, but as women we always seem to leave a window unlocked. Christ slipped right in with the tea. It was a beautiful and rewarding moment when after a devotion about how God will never unlove us, the room relaxed and talk of plans and hopes and past loves filled our Valentine themed Tea.
There was laughter and gratitude and refills. There was singing. Some of it was not ready for prime time though I tried my best, I am no singer. Lady after lady, young and mature offered up her favorite love song for our enjoyment. Each woman had a love song even though she may have been without a home.
It was a transforming time. I know this because Jean and I went home transformed. It is always that way. We start out to give only to find we cannot empty the cup. Heaven's endless supply just keeps pouring until we are all awash in God's goodness.
Romans speaks of the continuing debt of love we owe to one another, which is really a debt of gratitude to Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us. Our lavishing that unselfish, generous affection on our neighbors is a way of honoring His sacrifice. In the distant past in some cultures one could pay a debt with tea. For me it was a custom worth reviving.
One of these days Christ will return and we will all take a ride to the top floor. I want to be in the elevator where the love songs are sung by women who have found a home in Him. Until then I am making tea in the biggest pot I can find.