See You In Church!

In the last few weeks, I’ve run into more than a

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few of you here and there and around town. On the street, in a coffee shop, walking through a park – you going this way and I going that. Each time we stopped for a moment, and greeted each other. We talked about how our summers were going, or shared concerns about the big, scary storm that was then looming in our near future, unaware that it would perform well below expectations. And when we parted ways, it was only after saying something like, “See you in church!”

And now we have almost reached the fateful day when those many predictions can come true. The worst of the summer heat has past, and we return to another year of worshipping in our beloved congregational home. The reasons that draw us together into religious community are many, but I’ve been thinking lately about one particularly factor that calls us

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to church on Sunday mornings. I was reminded of it recently by a short piece of video someone shared with me, of a lecture by the famous psychiatrist Viktor Frankl.

In the video – which you can watch here, if you like – Dr. Frankl tries to explain the value of idealism with an aircraft metaphor. There’s a technique for landing a plane in a heavy cross-wind called crabbing; instead of pointing the nose of the plane straight towards the end of the runway, you point it into the wind, almost like you’re trying to land sideways. Done right, this lets the plane turn with the wind just enough during the landing that it ends up moving in the straight line it needs to follow in order to stay on the runway. This is the image that Viktor Frankl offers for idealism – not just for the importance of having high standards, but of having equally high hopes that you and everyone else is capable of meeting those standards. The world has a strong moral crosswind, and if only believe in others to the extent that they have already personally proven themselves, they and we and everyone will just go about life on a constant downward slant.

But if we make the decision to believe in the potential in each other, and to follow the hope of that potential being realized, it provides some compensation for that moral cross-wind. We, all of us, are able to better fulfill our promise as caring

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and capable human beings when we have other people in our lives who believe that we can do just that. And that is one of the most compelling reasons for why we come to church. Because here we know that we will be challenged to live up to our potential and to do what we know is right. And more than just a group of people with high expectations, we are a community that affirms a belief in the amazing possibilities contained in every human heart. Gathered together we have the opportunity to encourage each other, to share the lessons of our own successes and failures and to practice being not just what we have always or lately been, but what we might yet dream to become.

Our church is a place to grow and learn and hope and try and fail and try again. Its not a place for the already perfect (which is good, because they’re a very small market); it’s a place for anyone who wants to move even a little bit further in the direction of wholeness and holiness, and to help those around them do the same thing. So when one

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of us says to another, “I’ll see you in church,” one of the many things we are saying is, “I know that you can be even better than you are, and so can I, and I want us to help each other get there.” See you in church!

In Faith,

Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson


First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915


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