Vol 11, Num 12 :: 2012.06.08 — 2012.06.21
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
I Peter 4:10
Just a glass of wine before dinner. An ordinary hot cup of cocoa on a winter day. The usual cup of coffee on the drive home. The bottle of water after a run. If you add to these common beverages a friend or two, you’ll have transformed the ordinary into something special — perhaps moments to be remembered, even savored.
Let me share a true story with you. A saint of the church called the parsonage asking if she might come by for a few minutes. We welcomed her, took her coat and offered her a seat and a cup of tea. She held a small parcel in one hand, her purse in the other. She placed the items on the couch beside her. We sipped our tea while sharing the day’s news. Both my husband and I waited for her to share what brought her to our door.
Marguerite put down her tea cup and lovingly picked up the little parcel and carefully removed the brown paper. “I’d like you to have this little gift. It is something our family has treasured over the years. It was put into service by my mother whenever our pastor or another man of the cloth paid my parents a visit.”
There was a thin, bowed ribbon holding its contents securely. The gift was wrapped with tissue paper and newspaper. “This was given to my mother by a dear friend.” She held out an envelope directing me to “open this first.” Her friend had written the note, which read, “Until 1920 every Methodist Circuit Rider preacher who stopped at our home drank tea from this cup.” Now, it was time to reveal the contents. My hand held a lovely pink, white and gold cup and saucer. It showed its age, but was a treasure to behold. A visit, a cup of tea and a small gift — just routine moments transformed into something resembling the Eucharist.
This gift was given a place of honor in our home. It was put into service each time a bishop, pastor or missionary came to visit. We always offered his beverage of choice in that cup, whether it was tea, coffee, wine, soda or cool, refreshing water. This simple vessel’s story was rehearsed; the beverage quenched our thirst, while the story satisfied our spirits. A simple drink transformed each visit into a sacramental moment.
Today the simple pink, white and gold cup and saucer looks empty and old sitting in its place of honor. But it is full of sacred memories, reminding me that having happened once, the sacred will happen again and again and again. So each day I live in expectation, in anticipating these holy moments, again and again.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” (Phil. 1:3).