Crossing Tea and Beads

button beads

Sunday mornings I have been wanting to stay home. I cannot explain this, except to say that it feels somehow illuminated by these words from Luci Shaw...

"If our lives are centered in God's reality, we can risk working out from that center in new directions."

The direction I've specifically felt is this sense of wanting deeper communion with my children, around our faith, in ways that feel artful and concrete. Church, for whatever reason, seems to take us away from each other rather than join us in memorable ways.

So yesterday we stayed home. We sat on the side porch and drank red tea from roses china cups. In a book called Tea: The Drink that Changed the World, we read about how Japanese monks developed tea rituals in the 1400's and how these rituals are still practiced "with grace."

Then Sara and I took turns reading from a tiny book called The Rosary: A Journey to the Beloved. We learned that "rosary" comes from "rosarium," which means "rose garden." We learned that the rosary was made popular in the 1400's.

the rosary

As soon as I closed the book, Sonia declared, "I want to make a rosary!" Sara agreed, and so the beads were brought out.

bead finding

Over the next hour, beads were joined to beads. Little hands worked to string together the "decades" of the life of Christ— the joyful, the sorrowful, the glorious, and the luminous. Sonia, who often speaks as she works, suddenly said, "Connecting the cross."


I had just picked up Breath for the Bones and encountered this sentence: "There is another calling for the artist, and that is one of linking earth to heaven, pointing the human to the divine, finding the connections."

And I wondered if that is what I've been longing for in my experience of church: the earth side of spiritual life, whether tea rituals practiced with grace or beads that tell the Grace story— and me and my girls actively connecting the cross... from earth to heaven, and back again.

anchor and lifesaver rosary

Red, Gold & Garnet Rosary by Sonia. Anchor and LIfesaver Rosary by Sara.


Over at The High Calling, we're "connecting the cross," discussing Luci Shaw's Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit: A Reflection on Creativity and Faith. Want to join us?

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Blogger Maureen said...

"There is a Secret One inside us,
"the planets in all the galaxies
"pass through his hands like beads.

"That string of beads one should look at with luminous eyes."
~ Kabir

Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Maureen, what a lovely poem. And how apt. You are full of poems! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was so beautiful, LL. I think a lot of church experiences pull parents away from children, pull old people away from young people, cause us to sit by ourselves in a room full of people. I feel that sometimes, too. This was beautiful worship of the God of Grace.

Blogger Megan Willome said...

Your daughters' rosaries are exquisite.

Although I am back in church, my kids are not. We're doing a Sunday evening home worship-y thing.

Blogger Laura said...

What a beautiful story of the weaving of art and faith. And now, I'm left wondering...how, from the rose garden, did we find such a lovely gift to prayer? Wouldn't rose petals make a lovely (and sweet scented) rosary?

And this too: You pulled some of my favorite Luci quotes. She is very quotable, isn't she?

Blogger Kelly Sauer said...

Oh lovely. All of this.

Blogger Cindee Snider Re said...

Love the simplicity! Where two or more are gathered in Christ's name, there He am in the midst of them. What a beautiful morning saturated with the Presence of the Holy One! We occasionally opted for "home church" when our kids were little and one was unwell, enjoying quieter times of worshipping together -- just Mom, Dad and kids. Precious moments, treasured memories. Thank you for your tender and poignant post today.

Anonymous Sandra Heska King said...

Oh my. I want to rent a room at your house.

Blogger Cheri L Atkinson said...

yes, yes and yes. you entered Grace by choosing communion - the centeredness too often absent in and all around the Church. and you are bringing Grace back. thank you.


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