welby cup of tea
Meditation and Reflection

Archbishop, make me a cup of tea

The Archbishop of Canterbury visited the Diocese of Hereford for a cup of tea. It was a mug of tea, actually, but ‘cup’ sounds better. He had a cup of tea as well a bit later on, along with another mug, and probably a cup or a mug after that which wasn’t  snapped by a photographer. The Archbishop of Canterbury likes tea.

He went to Hereford’s livestock market and had a mug of tea. Then he went to Hereford Cathedral School and had a cup of tea. “I will never stop being overwhelmed and overjoyed by how local churches bring life, love and hope to their communities,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “From remote farms to urban estates, and refugee projects to hospices, I’ve seen so much of Christ’s love in action in Hereford Diocese over the last three days,” he added from his Lambeth Palace sofa, probably sipping another cup of tea.

Amazing stuff, tea, isn’t it? It refreshes the parts which you didn’t even know needed to be refreshed. It’s a mug and a sarnie with mates, or a cup and a heart-to-heart with your soulmate. Tea is community; it is sharing and caring. Tea is mission; it is love and laughter.

“Thank you for the reminder of what the Church is all about – building community, caring for those in need, and sharing the life-changing love of Jesus Christ!” the Archbishop said. “As always when I finish one of these visits around The Church of England, I’m grateful to God and filled with hope,” he wrote later, probably sipping more tea.

In a country wracked by civil strife and in a world plagued by war and rumours of war, a cup of tea is golden peace. It is wellbeing and wholeness; freedom from internal strife and turmoil. A cup of tea is a gift from God. So is a mug, of course, but ‘cup’ sounds like a more classically divine kind of gift. You might think it’s just a drink, but it is in fact a deeply spiritual stream of comfort and warmth.

A cup of tea is relationship; it is friendly cooperation and fellowship. So is a mug, of course, but ‘cup’ sounds more harmonious. Tea brings reconciliation; it breaks down barriers between man and man, and sometimes between man and God. Tea is calmness and serenity; it is concern for one’s neighbour and a mystical taste of compassion.

A cup of tea is our household richness: it is never out of season. It doesn’t need an occasion or an invitation: the kettle is always on. Tea is our national ritual. We should drink more of its honest godliness.