Believing Something Hard Enough To Feel It

There is an old story about a man who held to a certain idea which was unpopular among his neighbors – in fact, no one else in his entire city believed as he did. Rather than keeping his thoughts to himself, however, this man kept them always on display. He carried a sign with him everywhere he went, so that no one could forget what he stood for. As you might imagine, very publically disagreeing with the general consensus everywhere he went did not make this man’s life particularly easy. His arms grew tired from carrying the sign each day, and strangers often stopped him in the street to argue with him. Still, he kept it up.

One day, one of his neighbors saw the man returning home after a long day of work, and living life, and carrying his sign. The curious neighbor approached the man and asked, “Friend, everywhere you go you carry that sign with you. And in all the years we have both lived in this city, I have never known you to change even one person’s mind with it. Why do you persist?”

The man explained to his neighbor, “Other people have their own thoughts and opinions, just as I have mine. And over the years it seems far more likely that you would convince me than the other way round, outnumbering me as you do. I do not carry this sign to change what others believe; I carry it to remind myself of what I know to be true.”

Each year, in this season, we are each asked by our congregation to make a financial commitment to our spiritual community for the coming year. In my household, it’s a decision we make as a family: what we will give in support of the church. It’s a piece of the family budget that we feel; it’s enough money for us that we live our lives differently for not having it. You see, I believe in the transformative power of love and in the revolutionary value of the search for truth. I believe that every person is innately holy, and that it is by coming together that we best realize and cultivate this power. I believe these things and so I want to feel their practical consequences strongly enough that I cannot forget or lose track of them.

In the next month you will have the opportunity to consider how you will support our congregation for the year to come. On the first Sunday in April, we will hold a special service to bless and to celebrate the contributions that sustain our community. I hope you’ll join us and come ready to make a pledge of financial support to our beloved community that is weighty enough to match – and to reinforce – your convictions.

In Faith,

Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson


First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915


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