all souls charlottesville church community communion

our practices

To be a people of Jesus is not to merely affirm certain truths, vital as these truths are. To be a people of Jesus is to walk toward a particular kind of life, a life reflecting the truth that the Kingdom of God is at hand. This explains why we have a communal rule of life, to attempt to put words to our belief that God has called us to actually live these gospel hopes God has given us.

The practices we do, over time, help to form who we are, how we think and how we live. Truth is not something simply poured into our mind; but rather something we grasp with our mind as well as our hands, with our imagination as well as our behavior. Dallas Willard reminds us that learning to follow Jesus means learning to do what Jesus said. The call of Jesus is to live, to live well. To live with joy. To live full and free. To learn, more and more, how not to live poorly. To follow Jesus is to be more human, more alive.

This call to practicing our faith is not an invitation to behavior divorced from heart. Jesus had less than kind words to say about cleaning up the outside of a cup while leaving the inside full of scum. Rather, it is to recognize the simple fact that if what we say we believe does not express itself in the concrete spaces of our lives, our beliefs are anemic. We do not need more fathers who simply say they love their families; we need fathers who love their families. We do not need more writers and artists who opine about beauty; we need writes and artist to get busy crafting beauty.

Of course, even our best attempts to practice our faith are muddled. We do our best. We move toward life. And along the way, we repent. And we laugh. We love. We live our faith together. To paraphrase that great theologian John Lennon, "we get by with a little help from our friends."

Our Sunday gatherings are a communal way of practicing faith, of praying together and re-orienting ourselves to God together. We are formed by this mundane practice of gathering, laughing, listening to God, gathering at the Lord's Table and then moving out into our world. But, of course, Sunday is only one portion of the practice of our faith. Explore the other ways we attempt to live into this story.