Habits of Hope for a Moment of Fear
Your household is at an incredible moment.
Suddenly, what has always been true is plainly apparent - we live in a dangerous world, and your house stands as a missional outpost of love amidst that danger. This is your moment to rise to that call. Everything you have ever known about household rhythms is now disrupted, which means this is an incredible opportunity to form new rhythms that guide you towards God’s power in a time of humanity’s powerlessness. That guide you towards courage in a cultural moment of fear. That guide you towards concentration and presence, in a blitz of information and alerts. That guide you towards self-sacrifice in a mood of self-preservation. And above all - that guide you towards a household gathered in love, rather than scattered in fear.
The habits below are simple ways to help you do that, starting today.
Justin Whitmel Earley
The habits of the eyes reflect the habits of the soul. What we pay attention to gives way to what we become. Our moods, our hopes, our joys and our concerns will each reflect what we spend time gazing at. Commit your household to daily bible reading using some of the rhythms below.
Rhythms of prayer are the heartbeat of the household, because what we long for reveals what we love. Small rhythms of constant prayer help our house lean into who we were made to be: lovers of God and neighbor. Commit your household to rhythms of prayer recommended below.
Human beings have an incredible capacity to endure, so long as they keep hope alive. For Christians, this means reminding ourselves that Jesus is renewing all things, and he calls us to participate. Light a candle in your window, as a symbol and a reminder of your hope. If your neighbors ask you, be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you.
Friendship is the lifeblood of the soul. We were made for community, and without it, we wither. These times will either be some of the most rich because of the ways lean into community, or they will be some of the most despairing because of the ways we fail to lean into it. We must resist the despair of isolation as an act of hope. .
Habits at a Glance
These four rhythms are designed to work together to create household patterns of stability and hope in a time of distraction, upheaval and fear.
Remember that you cannot opt out of household habits - like it or not your home is filled with rhythms. The question is, how are they forming you?
The habits of the eyes reflect the habits of the soul.
What we pay attention to gives way to what we become. Our moods, our hopes, our joys and our concerns will each reflect what we spend time gazing at. Commit your household to daily bible reading. I recommend the practice of scripture before phone, that is, committing to a morning reading before looking at your phone. Also consider limiting your news reading habits. There is a temptation to remain constantly distracted, and while it’s vital we stay informed, it’s also vital that we remain present, and peaceful. Outside of urgent circumstances, commit to limiting your news and social media intake to certain prescribed times of day, and then read or watch other things.
Try a limit of checking local and national news no more than three times a day, and the same for social media.
Daily Media Limit
Choose a daily reading plan
This can be a church plan, or if you don't have one, try the daily office.
Scripture Before Phone
Before you look at your phone, spend time in scripture.
Rhythms of prayer are the heartbeat of the household, because what we long for reveals what we love.
Small rhythms of constant prayer help our house lean into who we were made to be: lovers of God and neighbor. Commit to three times of kneeling prayer each day, at morning noon and night. Consider using the prayers below. Then commit to praying for your neighbors as you wash your hands (try printing the prayer here and taping it to the bathroom mirror). Finally, pick a blessing from the below pages, and use it as a goodnight rhythm for your household.
FATHER I ask you to bless my neighbors. Would you protect their bodies from sickness. Would you protect their hearts from fear. Would you protect their minds from distraction. Would you fill their hearts with peace. Would you give me an opportunity to serve them with my hands, and share your love with my mouth. Amen
A 20 SECOND BLESSING FOR NEIGHBORS WHILE WASHING HANDS
BEDTIME LITURGY FOR SMALL CHILDREN
To remind them, and us, of God's protective love:
Parent: Did God make you?
Parent: Does he love you?
Parent: Will he always protect you?
Parent: Even more than I can?
Parent: You’re right. Now rest in the peace that the one who made the stars knows your name, and will always love and care for you. Goodnight.
Father, you sustain all things. You hold my household in the palm of your hand. Help me to trust in your power, and to lead my household in acts of hope today. Amen.
Holy Spirit, give me presence, concentration, patience and love today. Whether in my professional or household duties, may I steward all my work towards its proper end: the glory of God and love of others. Amen.
Jesus, no matter what happened today, the most important fact of the world is still true: You love us. You died for us. You rose for us. And you will come again for us. Let us feel the peace of that promise, and rest in your love. Amen.
3x a Day Kneeling Prayer
FATHER, as we gather in this house, we stand in solidarity with the global persecuted church that must always meet in small home groups. We pray you would protect and be with them, and with us, as we gather in the name of your son Jesus.
A GLOBAL PRAYER FOR HOUSE GATHERINGS
Friendship is the lifeblood of the soul. We were made for community, and without it, we wither.
Christian community is the primary place where we process our anxieties and preach the good news of Jesus to each other. While now is a time where we absolutely must significantly alter the way we meet, we must not give up small and safe gatherings, even if that means we have to connect by digital means. These times will either be some of the most rich because of the ways we lean into community, or they will be some of the most despairing because of the ways we fail to. We must resist the despair of isolation as an act of hope. In whatever ways are safe, whether it is a backyard fire, a regular nightly FaceTime call, talking to neighbors from front porches, or gathering in safe ways in small numbers - commit to regular gathering. Understand that your soul needs friendship like your lungs need air. We can, and we must, find ways to gather. Heed the recommendations to authorities to stay safe, but fight for community to stay alive. These things are not mutually exclusive.
Tell the Truth
Read Guidelines & Resources
Many people can't, or shouldn't, leave their home. If you have a safe and small gathering (10 or less) make sure part of it includes video chatting and praying for those who can't come
Friendship is created by vulnerability. Now is an incredible opportunity to catalyze rich, small communities by regularly gathering and telling the truth about your anxieties and needs.
Human beings have an incredible capacity to endure, so long as they keep hope alive.
For Christians, this means reminding ourselves that Jesus is renewing all things, and he calls us to participate. Now, more than ever, this can and should be the true of the American church:
"...always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope you possess..." (1 Peter 3:15)
Understand that what has always been true is suddenly apparent: we live in a dark, dangerous and chaotic world and Jesus has called us to be the light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14).
How we respond to danger says so much to our neighbors about what we really believe. So let your house be a lighthouse, a place that signals safety, warmth, and the hope of home.
Light a candle in your window, as a symbol and a reminder of your hope. If your neighbors ask you, be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you.
Light a Candle
Put a candle in your window, and be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within you.
Listen to this Talk
All of these habits for quarantine are adapted from the habits in my book The Common Rule, check it out for much more background on why habits and rhythms form our spirituality.
Note: This page of the website will be updated continually as guidelines and situations change.