Yr C ~ Canadian Thanksgiving ~ Philippians 4:4-9
As many of you know I love making up new words. When I was trying to figure out how to make a clever message title for Thanksgiving I was playing with the word gratitude, but I didn’t want to use the familiar “attitude of gratitude” line. Plus I wanted to underline from the Philippians reading that the spiritual life requires an ongoing effort on our part so I came up with the word habitude! Awesome new word, right?! Except it isn’t! It’s an actual English word! I’d never heard it before but it’s a real word! It’s so great; I wonder why this word didn’t catch on?
Your habitude is your customary way of behaving or acting. It’s the usual activities in your day. It’s your ongoing practice of something. You’re in the habit of doing it. It’s a regular thing you incorporate into your life. A habitude is not just an inkling or a thought about something, it’s the actual doing of it.
Your attitude is your orientation, or outlook – it’s your way of viewing or approaching a situation. It’s how you tend to feel toward something.
A habitude is an expected action – expected because that’s what the person usually does. It’s what you tend to do about something.
Your spiritual attitude might be just fine – you might think good thoughts, and have a solid theological lens to look at the world through, and be generally positive and hopeful in your faith, but if your spiritual habitude isn’t rocking your faith can’t grow.
So how’s your habitude?
What would a good habitude look like?
Let’s ask the apostle Paul.
Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi was written while he was in prison – a reminder to us that in their time claiming to be a follower of the Way and daring to speak out loud about it had serious consequences. So from prison Paul reaches out to the Philippians and reminds them to rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice!”
How often are we supposed to rejoice? Always! Without ceasing.
Does that mean we’re supposed to be perpetually happy? Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous. No one is happy all the time. Life doesn’t work like that.
But then, it doesn’t say to be happy all the time, it says to rejoice all the time, and even more importantly it says to rejoice ‘in the Lord’.
Rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice because you are in communion with the Holy Mystery we call God. Rejoice because at your core you are one with the Sacred. Rejoice because you’re blessed and loved and you are not alone – rejoice regardless of your circumstances. Joy isn’t a feeling, it’s an orientation. Happiness is an attitude; rejoicing is a habitude! read on