One of my favorite kinds of tea is jasmine tea. I often get it by the potful when I’m sitting around the big banquet table with my family members at the Chinese restaurant-of-the-moment. My mother usually keeps up with the best one around town. She is keenly aware of which chef went where, and who has the crab for $6.99 a pound. My mom makes the reservations and we all follow.
At the beginning of the meal, I usually pour a cup of tea for my grandmother, grandfather, and mother. I tell my own boys to wait patiently for their own cups to be filled. Our older family members–the wisest, smartest and most experienced in life–go first. As each cup is drunk up, I watch and wait; when the cup is almost empty, I pour another cup for them again. It is a symbol of my love and care for them.
Today, I wish I could pour a cup for the brothers and sisters in South Carolina. Those that hate others based on the color of their skin and race–who show no value for the God of diversity–drink up thoughts of injustice and scald the world with their boiling and violent acts.
There is no jasmine tea here at the retreat center. I wish I had a cup of it, made up of fragrant and gentle, flowering petals. In 1 Cor. 13, Paul says to the Corinthians, “now these three remain: faith, hope and love”. Paring down my view of the world to these three seems appropriate but I acknowledge that they remain fragile. Like the water that is too boiling hot, which can overtake and bruise the gentle jasmine petals, so is a life lived without mindful awareness of the image of God flowering in all of us…