Tonight we drove down to Tucson where our church is starting a new work there. It was a fairly long and, I must admit, a little boring drive, but once we got closer to the house we were going to things started to get much more beautiful. The Catalina Mountains rose up dusky blue and purple in the background, and the dusty and sage greens of the desert mingled with the deeper greens of the trees lining the roads. We got to their house which was a beautiful, rambling, sprawling ranch house complete with horses and cowboy boots at the front door. And in this dusty, deserty place we discovered a lady with a cupboard full of beautiful teacups and saucers, and the opportunity for a 'nice cup of tea and a sit down'.
I even got to choose my own teacup, so I picked a blue-green one with a yellow flower inside, and chose an Irish Breakfast Decaffeinated tea to put inside it. I was pleasantly surprised with the freshness and light flavour of this tea - not too dark or too bitter (although I didn't steep it long). I've put in teabags and forgotten about them before and the result is something very akin to sludge. Kind of frightening. Fortunately this was not the case here, and we all enjoyed our tea in lovely, pretty, china cups.
Pin and I went out with one of the girls to visit their horses and came back, and we spent a few hours with the believers singing the Word, praying, and hearing a short exposition on Psalm 120 by the famous expositor, my Dad. I really love his psalm explanations. I wish that I had been recording them all these years, because if he doesn't write a book of them, I will one day. He pointed out that Psalm 120 was all about refreshment, reflection, and renewal: all of which I feel pretty passionate about, and was glad to be reminded of. He reminded us to, like the psalmist, be continually waiting on God: but not a lie-back-and-do-nothing waiting, but an active, looking about, being willing to do things waiting. The result is all of God, but we do what we can too.
I think what was most encouraging to me was praying with the other believers there. Praying in community is one of the most powerful things you can do. For me, there are always several aspects to it. It reminds me that I am not alone. If I can't pray, someone else can, and often is praying for me. When someone else thanks God for who He is and for who Jesus is, and for the salvation we receive, I'm reminded to do the same instead of just leaping in asking for stuff. And when another believer confesses his own sin and failings out loud in a group setting through prayer, it is a heart-convicting time that reminds me to search my own heart. Prayer in a group is like a little mini church service: there is encouragement, and challenge, and reminder, and joy, and hope, and struggle...and there are those things Dad was telling us about - refreshment, reflection, and renewal. Because others are praying, you must sit and reflect for a time on who God is and who others see Him to be. And afterwards you can sit around for a little fellowship - and perhaps another cup of tea.