by Ken Rolheiser
Having tea with Jesus just as you are

There is an ancient Asian custom of "Tea Ceremony" where two people gather, reverently greet one another in silence and then one pours the tea ever so slowly 
as if to drink in each other's spirit first. Then they quietly enter conversation. 

There was once a student seeking wisdom from a master. They sat down, bowed, and the master started the tea ceremony; he slowly mixed the tea, letting it draw, 
then slowly started pouring the tea into the cup. 

As he did so, the cup filled to the brim and started to overflow. The student was disturbed and looked at the master; anxiously waiting for the master to stop pouring but he continued to pour. He poured, overflowing the cup, now over the saucer, and spilling over onto the table. 

The student couldn't take it anymore and eventually said, "Master, the cup is full. It cannot take any more tea." The master put down the teapot and looked at the student and said, "So too are you. And until you empty yourself you can receive no wisdom."

Too often in life we are like the student in this story and lack the perception of the master. Instead of the tranquil-it-tea we should be enjoying, we find ourselves in the idiomatic tempest in a teacup. We exaggerate the moment.

Imagine having tea with Jesus. “If only I were holier,” you think. There is so much you would ask of Jesus in the encounter, if only you were holier. And that is characteristic of our daily lives – there are so many ways we could be like Jesus in this world, if only we were holier.

Picture Jesus in a boat with the disciples. A storm is raging, and the boat is already being swamped. There is much agitation, but Jesus is sleeping on a cushion. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” they ask as they awaken him.

“Peace! Be still!” Jesus says. (Mark 4:35-41). “Have you still no faith?” he asks them. “Why were you afraid?” Jesus accepted them and rescued them just as they were. There was no need for their fear; Jesus was near.

Our call to discipleship does not depend on our personal sanctity. Jesus worked with sinners like Peter. God worked with sinners like King David. God accepts us as we are. After all, we are thrust into life’s situations daily in our families, at work or in the community just as we are.

In the song “Just as I am” we come to Jesus with our doubts, our conflicts, our fears. We ask Jesus to heal our minds, restore our sight, pardon and relieve us. We come just as we are. We will find “Sight, riches, healing of the mind” in Jesus.

As Christians we are called to live in the peace of Christ. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7).

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