Back in the beginning of this congregation’s ministry, we published an anti-slavery newspaper called The Independent, with a circulation of 15,000 – a very impressive number for that time. The Independent was notable for all kinds of reasons, one of which was that it published the poems of a woman named Emily Dickinson, and thus helped to spread her renown. I’ve always loved the idea that the Belle of Amherst became known and loved by Americans, at least in part because of Broadway.
Dickinson famously wrote: “Hope is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune--Without the words, And never stops at all, And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm, That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm. I've heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me.”