Tea With Molasses

June 15, 2011

I love tea. It’s a habitual pleasure. I have a french press on my desk at work so that I can have five or six cups whenever I feel like it. I was craving something sweet one night a week ago, so I went into the kitchen and put on some tea water. I opened the pantry to pull out some sugar and then I saw it: black strap molasses. I thought, that might be good. It wasn’t.

I couldn’t believe I would think of something that was not that tasty (hubris, anyone?), so I googled it and people do indeed drink tea with molasses. But people also drink light beer. Just because people do it doesn’t make it right.

Like tea with molasses, some ideas sound good but end up being not so good. Then what do you do? I think we need to learn from it. When we try something new during a worship service and it doesn’t work out the way we intended, it shouldn’t be relegated to the rubbish heap of bad ideas—we should try to learn from it, to tinker with it, to try and find the goodness in it and refine it until it becomes a meaningful part of our creative lives.

I think I’ll continue to tinker with molasses in tea until I get it right. I hope I can take that mentality and apply it when that prayer doesn’t work quite right, or that advice was a bit flat or that drum fill in a song is a half beat too short.



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Thomas Turner has been blogging on Everyday Liturgy for the past six years. He enjoys reading, writing, cooking and gardening.

5 responses to Tea With Molasses

  1. To quote Bill Murray from Groundhog Day: “People like blood sausage too. People are morons.”

  2. Elizabeth Sands Wise

    So I’m curious to know if you actually like molasses in other scenarios, you know, as in what prompted you to think “that might be good” in the first place? I grew up in central Pennsylvania, so we ate shoo-fly pie pretty often, but I still wouldn’t have considered molasses belonging anywhere near my tea.

    However, I will confess to once trying out buttermilk in my coffee. I’m sure there was a good reason for it, but I don’t recollect what it was now.

  3. Thomas

    The only reason we have molasses is for making pumpernickel bread. Molasses is a sugar byproduct, so I just thought it might be able to substitute. I was wrong.

    I grew up near Lancaster as well, albeit below the Mason-Dixon line, and I have a special affinity for shoo-fly pie. It’s so good with a cold glass of milk!

  4. “apply it when that prayer doesn’t work quite right”

    I am not sure what you mean by this. Is it the insertion of a prayer at a particular place? Could it be the words that do not flow or seem out of place for the moment or theme of the service? Who’s to say? Prayer is not a piece of worship to fit in like a jigsaw puzzle but a communication to the Lord of Glory. As a parent, who loves all His children I don’t think He is put out of sorts if that communication at beginning or end of a service…or when or how He just wants to hear from us. A toddler does not plan communication it comes with the need or want. We ought to think like toddlers.

  5. Thomas

    Nancy, I try to keep the monastic axiom lex orandi, lex credendi: what you pray is what you believe. Sometimes I pray against my own belief: I can be too selfish, too lazy, too immature, too annoying or too prideful. In those cases, I need to change and amend my prayers before God. We are to approach God with a childlike faith, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to through temper tantrums!

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