For this month of March, Pope Francis asks us to pray for the Church in China.
We pray that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.
Although Christianity has existed in China since the first Millennium, it was The Jesuit Matteo Ricci who most famously began missionary work in Imperial Beijing in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Other missionaries followed, including the Columbans who were among those deported by the Communist regime in 1949. They now have new links with the country which you can read about in their Far East Magazine.
For a comprehensive picture of the desert of persecution endured by the Christians of China, this report from Aid to the Church in need makes for sobering Lenten reading.
We pray that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity. Lord in your Mercy: hear our prayer.
A friend of one of my daughters, a Chinese scholar, once posted a picture of her with one of these cups, saying in jest, Here is N drinking tea from 14th Century Yuan porcelain, though this is a 20th Century Staffordshire adaptation of that design.
But this is about tea from Sri Lanka, not China, and the working conditions of the pickers. Pay has long been poor, schooling for the children lacking; and poor pay tempts parents to bring children to work for the few pence they can earn.
USPG’s partners are bringing schools to the children, and they are starting to attend with their parents’ encouragement. People overseas, like us, can help by buying Fair Trade tea.
Here is a prayer from Sri Lanka to go with the tea.
Even as the water falls on dry 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 others,
I’ll drink to that!