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There was a parishioner that I used to take Holy Communion to in their home. This wasn’t every week, but when required. There were always two parts to these visits, firstly was of course the opportunity to receive the sacrament, but once this was completed, it was basically compulsory to have a cup of tea. The rationale was along the lines of, “I have welcomed Jesus into my home, now with a cup of tea I welcome you who brought Jesus to me today.”
Over the past few months I’ve missed having a cuppa with so many people. Tea or coffee, these small short meetings give us a chance to catch up, a chance to talk, a chance to listen, a chance to share. Many people can’t start their day without a cuppa to wake up and get ready for the day ahead. It doesn’t matter what blend of tea, what strength of coffee, a cuppa is more often about the moment than the drink itself.
So, it made me smile a little while ago to read on social media about someone who had made himself a morning cup of coffee and was deliberating over the best place to drink it. It was early morning, a beautiful summer day was ahead, and the birds were joyfully heralding yet another fine day of sunshine. He decided that he would take his cup of coffee and sit on a bench at the end of the garden – a bit of peace, a bit of solitude, a moment to appreciate the day.
But as he sat there, amid the birdsong, the morning sunlight and a very gentle breeze, he said he realised he wasn’t alone. He was sharing his cuppa with all of God’s creations, and indeed, he was sharing his cuppa with God.
I like this idea of spending a bit of time ‘sharing a cuppa with God.’ It isn’t about the process of drinking, it is about being able to spend a moment in an everyday way with God. There isn’t a need for conversation, although that may still happen, but more about the realisation that spending time with God is as natural, and obtainable, as meeting with a friend. But, how often do I do this? Perhaps the greatest and ever present friend that I have, yet I rarely take the time even for a cuppa with Him!
In our increasingly busy lives, it can sometimes be difficult to find a slot of time to spend what some might consider doing nothing. For many there is a perception that the time we spend as personal moments with God have to be in some way formal, have a format, even have a purpose or agenda. There is an idea that these moments of personal encounter have to be scripted and only really count if the script is achieved. These are an example of spending time in prayer, but is all prayer necessarily that rigid?
I guess it depends on our individual outlook, experience and how comfortable we feel, that determines what we count as prayer. If prayer is a separated part of our relationship with God, then that is what works. However, if we see the whole of our day to day lives, and all of it’s activities, as an opportunity to include prayer, then the times and chances for prayer extend to everything that we are involved in. Consequently, God becomes a part, if not central to my world.
Giving time exclusively to formal prayer on a daily basis helps us to focus and root our lives in God. Taking the time to ‘have a cuppa’ with the Lord, gives us an opportunity to be with and deepen that ultimate friendship.
Life is so much better when you can share it with friends.
Deacon Ian Black