john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK




    Tea for two

    Good Shepherd 24/10/2004 (Harvest service)


    1 John 4.7-12, John 15.1-10

    This sermon is based on the Christian Aid Service at Holy Trinity, 18/5/03. You will need: 1 supermarket carrier bag containing 1 box of tea bags; 1 teapot; 1 kettle containing water, plugged in and ready to boil during talk.


    The most essential item in my kitchen cupboards is... TEA.

    ("More tea vicar?", etc)

    (Did you know that.... around 3 million tonnes of tea are produced in the world each year. The UK tea market in 2001 was worth 523.6 million, 148,000 tonnes)

    (Did you know that.... 72% of the UK population regularly drink tea, and an estimated total of 163 million cups of tea are drunk per day.)


    Organise song:

    TEA FOR TWO
    AND TWO FOR TEA
    ME FOR YOU
    AND YOU FOR ME

    Tea is one of the things I'm very thankful for at harvest-time. I wonder what you are thankful for at harvest-time?

    1. TESCO BAG

    Volunteer 1 holds bag - the Checkout lady

    At harvest-time we want to give thanks for all the people who work in shops, who pack our food and drink into bags for us, and help to bring us our supply of tea. Who:

    - work hard;
    - have some good friends at work;
    - and some people they find it hard to get on with;
    - wonder if they might get better paid somewhere else;
    - don't like it when management fiddle about with their shifts.


    The Checkout lady says:

    I AM THE CHECKOUT LADY
    YOU PAY ME FOR MY TEA
    IF YOU ENJOY YOUR SHOPPING
    IT'S BECAUSE OF ME

    We all sing:

    TEA FOR TWO
    AND TWO FOR TEA
    ME FOR YOU
    AND YOU FOR ME

    2. TEA BOX

    Volunteer 2 takes box out of bag - the long-distance lorry driver

    At harvest-time we want to give thanks for all the people who bring all the food and drink to the shops, who carry boxes like this very long distances, and help to bring us our supply of tea. Who:

    - work hard;
    - work on their own a lot of the time;
    - work away from home a lot of the time;
    - work long hours;
    - have to concentrate very hard on what they're doing.

    The long-distance lorry driver says:

    I AM THE LORRY DRIVER
    MY TRUCK IS FULL OF TEA
    YOUR SUPERMARKET SHELVES ARE FULL
    BECAUSE OF ME

    We all sing:

    TEA FOR TWO
    AND TWO FOR TEA
    ME FOR YOU
    AND YOU FOR ME

    3. INNER PACKAGING

    Volunteer 3 takes inner package out of box - the Tea Exporter

    At harvest-time we want to give thanks for all the people who go to market every week in faraway places with names like Mombasa, or Colombo, Calcutta, Limbe or Jakarta, where the world's tea is brought to auction. Without them we'd be tea-less. They:

    look at sacks and sacks of tea and decide which ones are the best;
    haggle, negotiate, bid to get the best price;
    put sackfulls of tea on the ships which supply the factories in this country

    The Tea Exporter says:

    I AM THE TEA EXPORTER
    I BUY AND SELL LOOSE TEA
    YOUR FACTORIES ARE FULL OF IT
    BECAUSE OF ME

    We all sing:

    TEA FOR TWO
    AND TWO FOR TEA
    ME FOR YOU
    AND YOU FOR ME

    4. TEA BAG

    Volunteer 4 takes tea bag out of inner package - the Process plant worker

    At harvest-time we want to give thanks for all the people who work in the tea factory overseas, skilfully turning loose tea leaves into the familiar 'black tea'. They:

    heat up the raw tea leaves, cool them down then heat them up again;
    watch the leaves change colour, from their natural green to gold or orange, and eventually dark brown or black;
    works for very low wages;
    works in very dangerous conditions.

    The Process plant worker says:

    I AM THE FACTORY WORKER
    YOU OUGHT KNOW YOUR TEA
    IS THE SIZE AND SHAPE IT NEEDS TO BE
    BECAUSE OF ME

    We all sing:

    TEA FOR TWO
    AND TWO FOR TEA
    ME FOR YOU
    AND YOU FOR ME


    5. TEA LEAVES

    (Start boiling kettle)

    Volunteer 5
    takes leaves out of tea bag - the Tea Grower

    At harvest-time we want to give thanks for all the people who work in the tea fields, whose fingers plucked these very leaves. They:

    work in the fields with their family and friends;
    wear protective clothing and boots to protect them from snakes and sharp twigs.
    carry the tea in baskets on their back, heavy loads for many miles to the collection centre where the tea is weighed and they is paid.
    don't get paid much - usually work at a loss or just about break even, after so many back-breaking hours in the fields.

    The Tea Grower says:

    I AM THE TEA GROWER
    MY FINGERS PICKED YOUR TEA
    THE FIELDS KEEP GROWING LOVELY LEAVES
    BECAUSE OF ME

    We all sing:

    TEA FOR TWO AND TWO FOR TEA
    ME FOR YOU AND YOU FOR ME

    (Volunteers sit down)

    Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4.7,8,11


    At Harvest-time we can appreciate other people; the work they do to help us get what we need.

    At Harvest-time we can appreciate how much we depend on natural things - tea leaves, water, fuel, paper (to make cardboard) etc.

    At Harvest-time we realise how much we need other people and how much we need all that nature provides, and how much we should care about others and care about nature.

    Perhaps that's what loving one another means.

    Now - the kettle's boiled - so as I pour this water into the pot, let us pray...

    Thank you, loving God, for the gifts of the earth and the hard work of others.
    Even as the water falls on dry tea leaves and brings out their flavour,
    So may your Spirit fall on us and renew us
    So that we may bring refreshment and joy to the earth and other people. Amen.