The Habit of Being

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes, Communications, Coronavirus

Dear Christ Church,

The very first day on which we did not gather for worship was March 15th, my birthday, on which Christine gave me a collection of Flannery O’Connor’s letters, a book entitled The Habit of Being. I’ve been reading these letters the past two months. They were compiled by her friend who, in her introduction, explains the title. O’Connor spoke of the “habit of art.” She meant “habit” not so much as “a mechanical routine, but as an aptitude or quality of mind.” Through a lifetime of friendship and through these letters with many correspondents, her friend saw that O’Connor (a devout Christian) had developed not only a “habit of art,” but also a “habit of being” that integrated her formative beliefs–thus the title of O’Connor’s collected letters.

How might we describe our habit of being these days, our aptitude or quality of mind, heart, and soul? Is it changed from what it was before the pandemic. Better? Worse? My guess is that it’s not just neutrally different. Is our habit of being shaped by our formative beliefs about God, his works and ways, his creation and revelation? Is our habit of being molded by the consolation of the Word? These weeks, now months, are a breeding ground for our habit of being, for better or worse.

If you are like me, you just want this to be over. However, we are in the middle of an incredible moment to be stretched and changed and formed into a new and transformed habit of being. Our new habit of being holds promise for more trust, loosening our grip on control, more dependent on daily bread from God, more aware how much we need each other, and more surrendered and free. That’s the habit of being, the aptitude or quality of mind, heart, and soul for which we were created, and in which we find our deepest joy.

Drive-thru Consecration for Pentecost Eucharist. One of our formative habits as the church is to share the Lord’s Supper together. We want to do so again, even dispersed in our homes, on Pentecost Sunday, May 31. In order to do so, please sign up here to bring your elements to the church for consecration during the week prior. It’s also a great time to see some other parishioners (in their cars) and some Christ Church clergy (masked and socially distanced), a small taste of togetherness. Pentecost Sunday marks the beginning of a new church calendar season often called “Ordinary Time,” the longest of all liturgical seasons. I think of this Pentecost Eucharist, this bread and wine, as food for the journey into Ordinary Time.

Lastly, I have recorded a thorough “State of the Parish” video that will be released this Sunday for you to catch a glimpse of how we are doing. There are ministry updates, operational updates, and some pastoral comments. We’ll share the link during the live stream for you to watch at your convenience. Grab some snacks and set aside 30-40 minutes to catch up on the life of our community. God has been so good to us!

Peace, Cliff+

P.S. Join me next Tuesday for Midday Prayer at 12:30. More information and the link are available here.