If you want to make a good cup of chai, the order in which you put the ingredients into the pot matters greatly.
Of course, you could add the sugar at the end of the process, but you would be wrong. You might add the tea leaves soon after you have filled the pot with lukewarm water, but if you do, you will end up with a sad cup of tea water, and I do not want that for you.
The key to creating good chai is getting the temperature of the water just right. Once the water comes to a boil, it invites you to add the perfect amount of tea leaves, sugar, and spices. The heat from the liquid creates a steam that will dance around the kitchen and awaken the essence of all that those tea leaves, spices, and sugar were created to be, releasing their flavor as they mix together.
Heat matters in Isaiah’s calling story. In a house filled with smoke, Isaiah sees God, senses God’s presence, and views himself more clearly. In response to his confession, a seraph—who is onto something with those hot coals—flies to Isaiah and touches his mouth with one. The heat releases the guilt and sin that is keeping Isaiah from being God’s servant. The heat opens Isaiah’s heart to become the person he was created to be, leading him to do something good.
What is burning inside of you that will help you serve God? What do you need to release in order to be who you were created to be?
Loving God, give us the strength to rid ourselves of whatever hinders us. Amen.