And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his habit was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. Luke 4.16
A Word of Hope
How many habits have you formed in your life? Everyone has them. They can be destructive and inhibit our advancement or incredibly useful and help us to grow both in body and spirit. Liturgical worship is a good habit, for instance. It may be predictable, not full of spontaneity or surprises, but its beautiful rituals have held the church together for many centuries. It cultivates and nurtures a worship habit within us.
Some of the greatest creatures of habit I have ever known are those loyal servers, usually women, who have taken our lunch orders our whole lives at our favorite “greasy spoon’’ diners. Sadly, their breed is all-too- quickly fading from the current scene. Their habitual blend of brassiness, compassion and love/hate relationships with their places of employment have awarded me with some of the warmest feelings and best memories of my life and I’m sorry to see them and their establishments slowly dissolving into the realm of nostalgia.
I remember a particular incident from several years ago that demonstrated lifetime efficiency habits. It was during the last lunch on the final day of business of an iconic Dallas restaurant, the Lucas B &B on Oak Lawn Avenue. The place had stood there so long that its sign has since been declared an historical landmark and it still stands as a memorial to bygone days. The waitresses themselves also were icons. On that day, during the last meal they would ever serve at the old diner, I watched them do what had become their habit for countless decades; making their rounds of the tables, filling to the brim all the salt, pepper and mustard containers; making them ready for another day that would never be. I heard one of the women say, “This one’s about to go empty.” The old building was closing but the tradition was still alive in their minds.
Those are the kinds of habits that keep us going on those days when we would rather just avoid doing something that we know is necessary. Included on this list would be checking out our inbox, trimming our hedges, cleaning the clutter, and praying for the well being of others.
How many Sundays do we come to church out of habit even though we’re exhausted or just feeling indifferent? It’s a habit that inevitably nurtures our souls and fills the fellowship needs of others. It quite simply is a good habit. We can never truly be the salt of the earth if we allow our shakers to go empty.
Thank you for the servers among us who are also our teachers.
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare