John Hancock

Pastoral Messages | April 13, 2023

There is a new kind of cosmetic surgery attracting interest. It’s cheaper than a facelift or tummy tuck, and it’s painless. Calligraphers are offering to help people reinvent themselves through a new personal signature. For around $100, these artists will draft two or three signatures for clients to consider as they seek a makeover of their name written in cursive. From elegant to edgy and from classic to curvy, a new signature is evidently what growing numbers of people crave for getting past their fourth-grade cursive. 

Various clients speak of their new look with pride, expressing unhappiness with their previous identity. They’re grateful to now be presenting themselves externally in a way that more authentically connects with how they feel internally. I’ve never thought of my signature on paper as carrying such gravity, but others must. 

This boutique industry isn’t benefiting those who no longer write checks and rarely have printed documents to sign. Nor will a new $100 signature be helpful at the checkout counter iPad when you’re asked to sign the screen with the blunt tip of your index finger. Still, the idea of reinventing oneself through a designer signature evidently holds some luster. Clients are told that practicing the new signature a mere 15-20 minutes a day will make it second nature after only three days. 

In the Christian life, getting a makeover is a really important pursuit. In fact, it’s a daily project that deserves focused attention and respect. Those of us who want to make the Lord central to our existence must strive constantly to seek congruency between our inner and outer lives. Forget the idea of it all becoming second nature after just three days. Even a fancy Mont Blanc pen and a hired calligrapher won’t make that difference. It’s hard, long, and joyous work. 

Allowing the spirit of Christ to infiltrate our thinking and decision-making requires diligence. Neither allowing ourselves to believe we’re the center of the universe nor permitting ourselves to opt out of responsibility when discouraged – both are fundamental to the task. I, for one, think the Risen Christ encouraging his followers to live lives of purpose makes all the difference in the world.  

-Peter W. Marty, senior pastor

One comment on “John Hancock”

  • Roy Birchard

    April 20, 2023 at 10:49 am

    This week I learned about anti-ELCA blogger Dan Skoglend who lives here in Iowa from a UCC colleague. He used to have a newsprint predecessor 40 years ago who produced a similar product which was actually quite entertaining. But this Lutheran author points out that without his “signature” Facebook page, one might easily be unaware of Good Things the ELCA is doing. So thank you, Dan! https://www.patheos.com/blogs/clintschnekloth/2018/08/exposing-dan-skogen-in-the-nicest-way-possible/

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