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Monday, September 28, 2009

How about a nice cup of tea?

It was just a teapot. Some people might have said it was just an ordinary teapot, but not me. To me it was the whole world in microcosm, because of what it stood for. It had been placed on our table more times than I could remember, gazed at, admired or ignored, by countless visitors. To me it was more than just a useful object; much more than a means of refreshment. Yes, to me it was a thing of great beauty, the colours telling people as much about me as the teapot itself. The base was a rich blue, blue enough to remind me of the sea one minute and the sky the next. Then there was that band of earth colours --- terracotta and mustard --- that reminded me of the goodness of the earth. Finally the handle, which apart from the warmth of the colours, was reassuringly robust. When you gripped it to lift the teapot and pour out the welcome liquid into a cup the handle reassured you that it was up to the job. You had, so to speak, nothing to worry about.

But, as if all of this was not enough, there was the activity that the teapot represented. People gathered around the table or scattered around the room, all brought together by the nectar that had come to life in that teapot. On a cold day even the steam from the hot tea was welcome, bringing with it that warm glow that comes with the imbibing of the swirling brown liquid. It caused people to exclaim, to sigh, to laugh. It brought warmth into their lives in its own special way. Later, even the memory of it would bring back a little of the warmth that was shared around the table.

Some people would have covered it with a tea-cosy in order to maintain the heat inside, but I always thought that a little sacrilegious myself. After all, when you have a thing of such beauty why cover it up?

If I ever feel a little lonely nowadays, all I have to do is to recall any of the many afternoons when I, in the company of a friend or friends, enjoyed an hour gathered around the teapot, chatting about old times or postulating on new ones. Do that for a few moments and the loneliness is soon gone!

One or two people thought that the teapot was so special, so beautiful, that it should be locked away in a glass cabinet, not to be used but just to be admired. Yet what would be the purpose of it then? It was, after all, a functional thing as well as a thing of beauty.

People often lock away something because they feel that it's too precious to be left for all and sundry to share. In the Bible there is a parable about a man who purchased a field in which he had found a great treasure. In order to keep it for himself he purchased the field, keeping the treasure hidden from others. Yet the value of the treasure was in its sharing.

Sometimes I visit people who proudly show me the Bible that was given to them when they were baptised, or for a special occasion, and they display it still in the box that it was given to them in, with the tissue paper as crisp and clean as the day that it was packed into the box with. They think that by keeping it so pristine they have done something good with it, but the sad truth is that they were given the Word of God to feed their spiritual being on a daily basis, yet rather than do that they did just as the man who found the treasure did and buried the bible out of sight. It was a hidden treasure that had been locked away, it's value hidden from sight, yet it was a priceless treasure that needed to be shared in order for its value to be appreciated.

There we are then, dear reader, there's something to think about as you gather around your teapot to enjoy a nice hot cup of tea with your family and friends today.

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