For the past couple of weeks, I have enjoyed diving back into the All Saints' pool with some truly fantastic neighborhood gatherings. We've traveled from East Atlanta to Buckhead to Brookhaven, congregating in people's beautiful homes who, in a rush of blood to the head, agreed to allow a hundred or so All Saint's folks to drop by. I have thoroughly enjoyed the gatherings. You can feel an energy, a kind of pulsating light when you cross the threshold of a place where All Saints’ comes together. The fact of the matter is the saints love to be with one another and it shows!
We love to be with one another, yet the life we share together as a church has changed. Indeed, across the country, some people rethought their relationship to organized religion amidst the pandemic. Staying at home broke the habit of church going. It was not that our faith was rote or that our participation in a community as richly diverse and nourishing as All Saints' was merely a matter of duty or obligation. We were simply disconnected.
In this season of giving, we call to mind the value of All Saints' in our lives, I want to invite you to ask how your connection to the life of this church could be strengthened. And if you have been away more than you used to be, how might you get back into the habit of church?
'Habit' is an interesting word for the life of faith. We can sometimes think of a habit as something that doesn't go that deep. Yet the roots of the word are revealing. Habit comes from the word 'habitus', meaning the condition of something, itself rooted in the word 'habere' which refers to what something consists of. To make the choice to get back into the habit of churchgoing (however it is you might choose to attend) is to connect your body to the condition of your soul. Who you are at that deep level is a human being constituted within the grace and love of God. Getting into the habit of church is a way for you to acquaint yourself with the depth and breadth of the human condition.
One of the best invitations to a life of faith I have seen was at a church I visited earlier this year in Toronto, Canada. It simply said: "start trying." I invite you to start trying to reconnect yourself to All Saints' as the vital part of this church that you are. We are simply not the same without you. Yet with you—together, as one body, by God's grace—we are capable of more than we can imagine