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Come Alive, and Share It

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

–Howard Thurman

What are you passionate about? Where are the big ‘yes’s in your life? I ask because I think that most of us spend precious little time really focusing on the things that make us come alive. We live in a world that celebrates and glorifies desire, and the pursuit of it, but that’s something rather different passion as an animating force – the energy that makes us glad to greet the day each morning. And the common counterweight our society offers to the all-out following of our desires is responsibility, too often framed as a burden. Caught between these two poles, we can bounce back and forth and lose the invigorating spirit that should feed our lives. Even the relationships and projects we care deeply about can feel like chores if we lose touch with our passion for that work.

Balzac said that passion is synonymous with humanity; without it, religion, history, romance and art would be meaningless. We need to find what makes us come alive, and to practice it, both for our own good, and for the good of the world. This is among the greatest purposes of our spiritual community: to help people come alive, and to live with more and more courage and abundance. First Parish is a place – for many of us, perhaps even the only place – where you can bring your passionate self.

We come together, in large part, to learn from and to teach one another – to share in the stories of each others’ lives and unfold the potential of our own souls by doing so. Our tradition has a deep mystical bent, full of awe and wonder at the majesty and complexity of the universe. Each of us has our own little pockets of the universe that excite us and stir us to action: a spiritual practice that nurtures the spirit, a cause that stirs the conscience, a subject or inquiry that sets the mind ablaze, an understanding of God or the Holy that shapes the way we live. These things were not meant to be bottled up and kept alone: they are better when shared.

Sharing in community also helps us to test and consider what drives us – something we need very badly, because there are unhealthy passions, too. When we have only our own counsel, we can give ourselves over to motives that diminish our lives rather than renewing them. Having others to turn to, to reflect with and gain insight from, helps us to understand more clearly the way forward.

You have in you, a self that is hungry to come alive. Our community is here to help you do that: in the solace and celebration of worship, in the reciprocal wisdom of a covenant group, in the teaching and learning in our Sunday School and adult religious education programs, and in a host of other ways. Once you have discovered what sets your spirit on fire, we are also here to help you put that fire to work: as a teacher, as a committee-member, or just as someone excited about a cause or project, and ready to share that excitement with others.

“The work of the world is common as mud,” Marge Piercy writes. “Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust. But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident…The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real.” Our church is a place where we all can find such real, satisfying work. It only takes our seeking together to find it, and to do it. So lets get to it.

 

In Faith,

Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson

 

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First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915

978-922-3968

Office Hours: Mon 8:00 - 11:00 am & Tue-Fri 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

office@firstparishbeverly.org

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