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Francis’ Cup O’ Tea

An argument rages in the living room. Passions and tempers are high.

An elderly man sits calmly in the corner, patiently listening to the tense debate. The issue is one of deepest concern to him. The argument is one he’s repeatedly participated in throughout his long life.

But he knows that what is needed most right now is not, in fact, a stinging fact that sets the room straight. Nor is it the time to call the fight, give up on the issue or to pretend the truth about the matter doesn’t matter.

For the truth is worth finding. Worth fighting for. Worth dying for. But not worth killing each other for.

No. In such a moment, he knows that what is needed most is not the bluntness of brute or the triumph of intellect, but the disarming plainness of a new perspective. What is needed is a chance for everyone involved to see things differently. To see each other differently.

So instead he sits quietly in the corner, listening with the gentle confidence of a mighty oak in a storm.

At one point, his patience and steady interest draws the attention of the entire room. The tension tempts him to join the fray. The room begs him to battle, awaiting the wisdom of his weighty words.

But he does not abide.

A hearty and earthy smile spreads across his face. It’s a winsome smile. A smile fueled by a mysterious joy that transcends the worries of this world.

He stands to speak.

And then…invites everyone to a cup of tea. An invitation everyone can say yes to and a new opportunity for all.

Because a cup of tea is never just a cup of tea. It’s a chance for us to see the world – each other, ourselves – differently. It’s a necessary beginning if we are to ever reach our end goal of communion.

We don’t need more winners, but more wine. Fewer battle lines and more bread-breaking.

For Love conquers all. It truly does. That’s not just some cheesy lyric or namby-pamby pacifism. It’s quite the opposite. But it does require such radical courage and sacrifice that it usually ends up having never really been tried.

When the Christian encounters resistance, our marching orders are not to dig in, but to dig within. To scour the depths of the inner well for yet more mercy, more compassion, more forgiveness, more love. It’s scary and hard. But you’ll always find what you need there…because He is there.

Waiting for all of us.

Coffee anyone?

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” – G. K. Chesterton

Published in Popular Essays True Stories