We are often asked why we host teas. ‘It must be a lot of work to make tiny sandwiches with tiny garnishes and tiny pastries with sprinkles on top. And all the china cups need to be washed by hand and the napkins have to be ironed!’ It is time consuming, yes, but isn’t it also beautiful? And couldn’t we all use a bit more beauty in our lives?
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “...beauty is God’s handwriting.” I believe that. Girls in dresses are beautiful. So are sunsets and smiles; bare feet and babies. Beauty is all around us but it must be sought after and absorbed. More than that, it needs to be created by you and me for others to discover and enjoy. It is so easy to settle for the utilitarian when the world appears to be falling apart all around us and beauty seems trivial, unimportant. But I wonder, why did World War II prisoners still play music while confined in concentration camps? Why do artists continue to paint even though they starve? Or poets write though they face poverty? Because a work of beauty shows us the way the world should be. It is hope for our children to dwell in a world that is good.
In our culture today, beauty is being misaligned, distorted and this distortion is being offered up as worthy. Don’t give in to the lie. We all need to see God’s handwriting in a jug of wild flowers, in the flicker of candle light, in the change of seasons, in the warm embrace of a friend.
Don’t abandon beauty in the face of crises - create it. Show compassion, benevolence, hospitality. Greet your neighbors and strangers alike.
Be the beauty in someone’s day.
So, I guess that’s why we host teas - because we think they are beautiful.