If I asked you what your habits are, what would you immediately think of. I usually think of two things – my nails which I have a habit of biting, or the nuns who taught me as a teenager, not because of something they did but because of what they wore!
Habits, so the experts say, take on average 66 days to become automatic. The length of time, of course, can vary depending on what is being formed and who it’s being formed by – our characters take a lead in this. Some habits are good for us, some bad. Some we choose to do, some we have no choice about. The whole world has had no choice other than to change habits in the face of the pandemic we are in. None of us have been left unaffected and, like habits, some of that affect has been good, some bad. We cannot forget the pain and suffering that has gone on and still goes on, the scale of loss is immense.
There have been many good habits formed though. One such habit is the community networks that have formed like a web that is intended to capture folk for all the right reasons; networks that ensure people are looked after and their needs met. Those of us of a certain age will remember those kinds of networks. Somehow though, over time, those community networks have tended to weaken or even been lost altogether. You might not agree with that statement – my experience of living in Hope Valley is that community is quite strong, but my living in other places has been very different, and so we need to remember that this habit is a good habit needed worldwide.
There is a community network that evolved many years ago now and they developed a number of habits that were not only good for themselves but ones that they went on to share with others worldwide. This community is the early church and we read about them in a part of the Bible called “Acts” which is an apt name because this community, in their habits, were active in caring for others. They didn’t always get things right. Like a lot of things we have to refine and develop our habits. Christians do this through looking to God for help.
Maybe in this time of pandemic, we could look to this early community and embrace their habits. It might take some perseverance, it might mean letting go of some habits that we have that aren’t good for us. I’m trying hard not to bite my nails. My fingers aren’t as sore as a result – nail biters will know what I mean! I’ll leave you with the reading in the part of the Bible, Acts, that talks about the early church community. See if you can spot the habits they formed and perhaps think about how you could develop them. They truly are good habits that will only serve to enrich us all. God bless you as you find the best way through these times.
Rev Julie Letts Methodist Minister
Acts Chapter 2, verses 42-47
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.