Yesterday for Pastor Appreciation month my dear friends Matt and Lori Clark sent me a very special gift…a gift that caused the deepest streams of my heart to burst open in a torrent of tears. They awakened a place in my spirit that is still vibrating in the early hours of this Lord’s Day.
They sent me the gift of communion…a Chalice and Paten…the plate and cup of the covenant meal. It was the kind of communion set that I have always wanted but never told anyone about.
As I awoke in the early hours of the day to participate in communion today, I sensed the Lord say through their gift, that it was not only a gift of their friendship, but a gift of His friendship. And then my imagination swung wide open…
I realized that my middle of the night watches of communion were a sort of “Tea Party in the Tabernacle.”
In my house of three daughters we have had a fair amount of tea parties over the years. In fact, I have had the privilege of sharing a sip of tea and special bread on a number of occasions with my three daughters. I don’t ever remember that we had to teach them to have tea parties, it seems as though it was a part of their innate understanding of being a girl.
A tea party is the social event of the year for any little girl, but for most little girls they could have a tea party every day of the year. A tea party is always a shared occasion with their best and most imaginary friend(s). In our house one of our daughters had two imaginary friends, their names were Jim and Jam…they went everywhere with us!
The “tea cup” only holds a small sip, but it seems like an endless fountain of friendship that flows out to us and between us. The cup seems to last forever and if it should happen in the process of chatting away to get cool, there is truly an endless supply in the ornamental tea pot so we will never run out of tea time.
The sweet bread seems so dainty and is distributed with the greatest of care. Savoring this delicacy is met with frequent painted lip smacking and applauded by an audible “Mmm…” that echoes around the table as the topic of conversation.
A tea party among our Friends is a place of our wildest imaginations. Everything we hope and dream with our friends and for them and for ourselves comes about so freely. The speed of thought, or wish or wonder seems so sluggish compared to the dashing dart and dance of our heart. It seems as though we have unknowingly stepped aboard the train of bliss and beauty and the dream space that we occupy transports us with such velocity into new vistas, that we can’t finish talking about one such thought…before we are overtaken with a new one. Yet as soon as it overtakes us, the moment is captured like a highlight in slow motion and time seems to stand still. However, in the “real world” it may take days or actually years later (wedding day) for that wish and wonder to magically re-appear. When it does come to pass like the “happily ever after” ending of a fairy tale…time once again slows down and we have an instant replay of our tea party sensation.
The tea party has the freedom to shut all other cares or disturbances out of our mind. The anticipation of the day, hour and moment of the tea party is so captivating it carves out a sacred space for unlimited imagination and the most charming kindnesses to be wished upon for all who are gathered here.
If you ever get an opportunity to be invited to a tea party, be sure to RSVP…because your worlds will become one! The talk around the tea party table will always result in our last best hopes of the world and for ourselves.
The Who’s Who of a tea party is a scandalous list of friends and fanciful creatures who may otherwise be foes…teddy bears and turtles, princesses and puppies, favorite baby dolls and an untold number of cuddly stuffed bed time buddies. But the best part of the tea party is the “empty seat” that is reserved and in fact occupied by the forever faithful imaginary best friend. The friend who is always on the top of the guest list and never fails to make a special appearance to the party that is actually a celebration of his presence.
Thanks for the Tea Party set, for all my covenant friends and to our forever faithful Friend.