Scripture: Luke 23:33-43
Already, but Not Yet
Reign of Christ
A dear friend’s impromptu wedding recently brought me back home, to the northern shore of Massachusetts. A small gathering by the ocean, just parents, sisters, and me – the friend – to witness, bless and preside. After the vows were exchanged, kiss shared, matrimony pronounced, first dance danced barefoot on a blanket in the sand, I had an extra hour or so to myself – somewhat of a rarity these days. I took a walk over to a still familiar spot, Cedar Pond, not far from the house where I grew up. Ducking in between the trees, I found the rock where I used to sit overlooking the water.
As I looked out, I was struck by a familiar sight: two Adirondack chairs on a dock across the pond. There they sat, as they had for so many years before, empty, yet appearing to be so full of life, of stories, of memories, I had always been certain. And still, they were there, the wood now slightly faded. There they were, surviving the years. Well-worn and loved.
I imagined, as I had so many times over the years that these two lone chairs are filled – at the end of the day – with a couple looking out over the calm and intimate waters of a small pond in their backyard. Pausing to reflect upon what the day has brought – the good and the bad, the blessings and the challenges.
There’s something about the sight and scene of these two empty chairs that slows down the pace of life; that brings us into the moment, into the here and now. The path of life is actually quite simple in light of a pond, a dock, and a few empty chairs –
Love shared: “Let’s just sit and be together,”
Thanksgiving practiced: “I am thankful for you. I am thankful for your life and that you are in mine.”
Faith exercised: “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we are here. Now. Today – but by the grace of God. And so we trust that all will be well.”
* * * *
So much of our life is future-oriented and forward leaning. We spend a great deal of time wondering and worrying about what tomorrow will bring and how it will all turn out. Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. From where we’ll spend Christmas to where we’ll spend retirement to where we’ll spend eternity.
Where will you spend eternity?
The question looms, yet, on this Reign of Christ Sunday, this Christ the King Sunday, we come to church and we are confronted with the crucifixion (it’s not even Good Friday – the church says, “We are not prepared!”). With the question of eternal consequence hanging in the balance, there is something about this scene (is there not?) in the place that is called “The Skull.” There is something about this scene of three crosses, Jesus, and the criminals that slows down the pace of life; that brings us into the moment, into the here and now. This scene of the King who did not save himself.
“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
“Forgive us, for we know not what we do.”
And we ask, we beg, we plead there with the criminal hanging on the cross: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
* * * *
Reign of Christ Sunday causes us pause, it causes us to reframe the question. Transformation/innovation/revelation often comes when we reframe the question – ask any teacher.
Not, “How will we get into the kingdom,” but “What is the kingdom?”
Not, “Will Jesus remember me at its gates,” but “What have I done today that’s worthy of Jesus’ memory?”
What is the kingdom? Fortunately, the kingdom rivals money for the topic that Jesus taught and talked most about. “The kingdom of God is like…” how many times does Jesus begin here, “The kingdom of God is like…” What is it like?
It’s like the love of a father for his son who returns home after he has taken the family inheritance and squandered away every last dime. But, alas he is safe. He is home. All is well.
The kingdom of God is like a shepherd who cares so deeply for all his sheep or a woman who values a small coin so greatly, that when one is lost, they go in search for it until it is found.
The kingdom of heaven is like the very smallest of all seeds – the mustard seed – that grows into a great tree and becomes a home for the birds.
The kingdom of God is like a rich man who throws a party, and when the rich people are too busy to come, he invites the poor, the blind, and the lame.
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he told them that, “The kingdom of God is not coming in an apocalyptic flash of light. People won’t be waving and pointing, saying, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!”, but Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is among you.” (Lk 17:24).
And as his cousin John shouted out from the wilderness, awaiting Jesus’ arrival: “The kingdom of God is at hand. It has come near.”
What is the kingdom? It is already but not yet here. The reign of Christ is already, but not yet now. It is within you and me. It means that we are at once lost and yet found, at once seeking yet being sought, at once sinners yet forgiven, at once fallen and yet saved.
“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And so the question becomes not where we will spend eternity, but how we will spend today.
The question is not how long will the church stand but that the church is standing today – what do we do with it?
What we do in this life matters (“Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).)
What we give today and how we live today matters.
The day is here.
The time is now.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Last Sunday I joined several others from this congregation at the Southeast Area’s Fall Meeting, where the featured program was “Perceptions of Youth about the Church.” A panelist of vibrant, excited, and exciting youth ministers answered the million dollar question, the question for the ages: How do you get young people into the church?
And one of the panelist, a young woman, lay leader – the greatest wisdom always comes from the laity – made a bold and poignant statement. She said, “I’m so sick of people in the church talking about how youth are our future. Youth are not our future. Youth are our now. They should be valued for who they are and the gifts and wisdom that they bring now.”
The kingdom of God belongs to such as these. How easily we forget.
We are so focused on the end game, the outcome, the destination, the decision that I do believe we subconsciously wish our youth into the future; we hope they’ll be great and positive contributors to society when they grow up, we hope they’ll be successful, we hope they’ll be faithful, we hope they’ll be generous, we hope they’ll be kind.
Another wise lay member (see, I wasn’t kidding) recently wrote me in reference to a philosopher’s quote that caused me pause, writing that, “The world needs less hope and more love.”
Maybe it’s love, after all, that brings us into the present. That catches us in the net of the moment. Maybe it’s love, after all, that brings us into the kingdom and heralds in the reign of Christ – from the father’s embrace of a troubled son to the searching shepherd, from a party for the outcasts to a home for the birds, from the first dance barefoot on a blanket in the sand to the well-worn wood of a set of chairs on the dock.
Maybe it’s the love that grounds us in the already, but not yet kingdom of God.
It’s the love of Jesus on the cross, awesome and utterly overwhelming, the king who chose not to save himself, but us instead. We, who know not what we do – sinners and fallen – stumbling and fumbling to grasp the love that is in front of us all the while.
We can only conclude that it’s right to give thanks. We do this day and this week. We
give and we give thanks.
~Rev. Leanne Walt
Scripture: John 21:15-25
Rev. Leanne Walt
7th in our series on Naked Spirituality: a life with God in 12 Simple Words
We venture on this morning, we venture onto the final leg of our summer sermon series and journey through Brian McLaren’s book, Naked Spirituality: a life with God in 12 simple words, but the end is just the beginning. We especially affirm this today as we take up the last movement of his book with a consideration of the word “yes.” Months ago we gathered under the large oak tree on the side lawn to begin with the word “here,” that was our starting point: “Here. Now? Who? You. We.” “Here I am” was the call to communion with one another and with God, but now we have the call to commission, we say “Yes”: “Yes! we’ll go. Yes! We’ll prune. Yes, We’ll pluck. Yes! we’ll follow.” So that the end is just the beginning. As the passing of some months and days has brought us to Labor Day weekend that threshold, that relic of mainline New England Protestantism, that summons us into the new year, we duly sense that the end is just the beginning ~ that this exploration and consideration of the spiritual life is but a prelude to the coming year for our congregation.
We begin at the end this morning, the end of the Gospel of John, that is. Beside the Sea of Galilee, here we meet with Jesus’ questioning and commissioning/inquiry and invitation. A scene featuring beloved Peter – precious Peter - denier and disciple, rebuked and regretful, fisher of fish and men. In the last notes of John’s Gospel, in the final act of Jesus’ ministry, from the tomb to the beach, he has breakfast with the disciples around a bonfire just after dawn and he invites Peter to walk with him. Just some steps away from the fire, Jesus asks this man who denied and betrayed him: “Peter, do you love me?”
Peter responds, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”
Jesus says, “Feed my lambs.”
A second time he asks him, “Peter, do you love me?
Peter responds, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”
Jesus says to him, “Tend my sheep.”
A third time he asks him, “Do you love me?”
Hurt now that Jesus has asked him three times,
Peter responds, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”
Jesus says to him, “Follow me.”
The other gospels, the brotherly synoptics, Matthew, Mark and Luke, begin with Jesus saying, “Follow me,” but John’s gospel ends with this invitation. The end is just the beginning.
We discover in this scriptural moment, in this divine proposal that love precedes call. Love precedes commission. Love precedes vocation. Theologian Frederick Buechner has written that, “Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.” Where is your greatest passion? Have you married that with vocation?
As a minister, I receive all kinds of email forwards, as you can imagine. They really run the gamut – some quite serious, tear-jerking stories, usually involving a terminal illness and miraculous healing or a child and a dead pet frog. Others are funny, tongue and cheek Bible jokes, like “What do they call pastors in Germany? German Shepherds.” Or, “Who was the greatest financer in the Bible? Noah. He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.” And, I do enjoy these so please keep them coming.
Someone recently forwarded me an article from the Boston Globe entitled, “The Latest Trend in Dying.” Now, I didn’t realize there were trends in dying. I wondered what this trend might be. Hand painted caskets? Eulogies given by way of interpretive dance? Or, in anticipation of the open casket, are people starting to request nose jobs or hair transplants upon death in addition to the standard embalming service? But no, as it turns out, the latest, hottest trend in dying is the self-written obituary. Have you heard this? There are, in case you are interested, workshops on how to write your own obituary available both online and in your area. Many book clubs and other groups are hosting informal obituary-writing sessions. You can even purchase your very own “obit-kit” online.
Although I wanted to, I resisted purchasing an obit-kit and convincing Bill to join me in writing our obituaries now that we have a child, given that just before James was born he was a little taken aback when I told him that I’d planned my own funeral service and would have that available for him. Should the day or time come sooner than expected, I want to be sure that he knows the hymns I want and in what order. The scripture I would like read, and of course where the service would be and who would preside. Plus, with James now in the world, we’re in the midst of preparing our wills. So, I thought it may not be the right time to bring an obit-kit into the equation.
But you know; there is something about encountering to new life that orients us toward our death – not in a morbid or depressing way - but in a wholly hope-filled way, thankful for the reminder that the end is just the beginning. In bringing about or bearing witness to new life, we become grounded in our humanity unlike ever before. We begin to consider our legacy – financial and professional; our legacy of story and memory, character and disposition, faith and community, vocation and call – and if not on paper, perhaps in our hearts we begin writing those words that will remain in this world after we no longer do.
In the process, we discover that our lives hinge on those moments of questioning and commissioning/inquiry and invitation/call and response. Will you go? Will you feed? Will you tend? Will you plant? Will you pluck? Will you prune? Will you stand? Will you speak? Will you stay? Will you lead? Will you follow?
There are many reasons to say “no” given the state of our nation and realities of our world. 12 million Americans out of work, the dramatic decline of communities of faith, underachieving public school systems and insurmountable costs of higher education, engagement in wars abroad with vague purpose, shrinking coastlines. There are many reasons to say “no.” No, I will not go, I will not feed, I will not tend, I will not follow.
Yet, the invitation remains. A precious offering, a sacred window into the Way, the Truth, and the Life – into the love that fearfully and wonderfully formed and fashioned each one of us, our partners, parents, grandparents, children, and great grandchildren, generations of old and those to yet to come. We are asked to say yes to the love that invites us into the composition of life, the love that calls us into the cadence of our faith, to the rhythms of friendship, to the dance of partnership, to the note of vocation.
Love precedes call. Love precedes commission. Love precedes vocation.
In our tradition, nowhere is this reality more pronounced than in the sacrament – the sacred moment - of baptism, where we are visibly marked by the love that calls us into being. And that love, should we choose to accept it, overrides all worldly reasons to say “no.”
For the Christian life is a yes life - it whispers yes to what has been, to what is, and to what is to come ~ as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end ~ in our living and our dying, from the waters of our baptism to the ashes of our departing, we affirm that, “Yes, the end is just the beginning.”
Yet we know that this morning James isn’t the only one saying yes – in fact, he can’t say yes. He has yet to make that determination of faith. But we say, “Yes.” We say yes to God’s invitation into this life, this world, this communion, this community, this day, this hour, this minute – into the common hope that there is an achievable common good and that we can leave this world a better place than when we came into it.
And we say “Yes!” Yes, we will offer James this same invitation into the Christian life. And by accepting, we pray that he will lead a life worthy of the calling to which he has been called.
One in which he allows love to precede call. Love to precede commission. Love to precede vocation.
And if we listen closely in this old, holy place, we hear the faint echoes of Jesus in our hearts calling out to us on this sacred occasion. We sense the whisper of his questioning and commissioning/inquiry and invitation: “Do you love me?”
“Then, tend my sheep.” He calls out, take this one, this beloved, precious child of God, into the fold.
“Tend my sheep.”
May it be so.
Scripture: John 15:9-17
Begotten by Love
Rev. Leanne Walt
According to Greek mythology Cassiopeia, the mythical queen of Ethiopia, angered Poseidon, the sea god, by claiming that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than the sea nymphs. As punishment, Poseidon placed her high in the sky near the North Pole, upside-down, no less, where the constellation Cassiopeia bears her name.
That the existence of motherly love and pride practically exceeded the history of time itself explains quite a bit about my childhood. My mother always seemed to believe that her children had absolutely no weaknesses or limitations in our abilities whatsoever.
The most shining example of this being that when it came time for me to apply to college, my mother took it upon herself to befriend the administrators who worked in every college admissions office throughout the continental United States so much so that after I had sent my application to Carleton College in Minnesota, one of the most competitive colleges in the country, I received a letter of acknowledgement in return stating (and I quote), “We are pleased to have received your application and understand that your mother highly recommends you for admission to Carleton College.” I saved this letter and needless to say, it has become a long running family joke so much so that when I applied for my very first job out of college at a Boston publishing house, I asked my mother to write me a letter of recommendation because surely a mother’s recommendation trumps all others in the business world.
It’s no surprise that my mother highly recommended me for admission to any college or university in the country. To this day my mother insists that I have a beautiful singing voice. I have explained to her time and time again that not only do I not have a beautiful singing voice, but that I don’t need to have a beautiful singing voice - but no, no, no, she insists that I do. She has yet to understand why I chose ministry over a lucrative recording contract.
Most recently, she reminded my husband Bill of this fact as he lightheartedly commented that it would be a real surprise if our son turned out to be a singer or musician of any kind given the nearly nonexistent musical talents of his parents.
“Bill, Leanne has a beautiful singing voice,” she emphatically reminded him.
Well, with my mother having highly recommended me, I did attend college and while there I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Sri Lanka where I lived at an all girls Christian orphanage called Evelyn Nurseries. Having labored, laughed, learned, and worshipped with the girls and young women there, I came to know the stories that had brought each of them to this place. Addiction, abandonment, and ambiguity marred their respective histories. Daughters of mothers who left them on the doorstep in the dead of the night. Children who had never ventured off the tropical island of their birth and yet had come to know the bitter cold of winter, as the poet remarks:
“My sorrow’s flower was so small a joy
It took a winter seeing to see it as such.”
But joy they saw indeed.
One night, toward the beginning of my stay at the Nurseries, after we had eaten supper, washed the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, swept all of the walkways on the grounds, and had evening worship and prayers, I walked by one of the bedrooms where I saw Shamalie and Anoma, two teenage girls, sitting on one of the beds. A large, open book sat on Anoma’s lap and Shamalie sat across from her. I knocked on the open door, not wanting to startle them, and I walked into the room. They looked up at me.
“What are you doing in here?” I asked them.
“I’m spelling,” Shamalie told me.
“What are you spelling?” I asked her, confused.
“Words from the dictionary. We’re on the Ds,” She explained, gesturing to the large book in Anoma’s lap, which I then noticed was a dictionary. Shamalie had won the spelling bee at her school and next month she was going to be competing in the regional spelling bee held at the University. In preparation, Anoma was going through the entire English dictionary and helping Shamalie learn to spell every single word. Shamalie and Anoma continued with this routine each night. After evening worship and prayers they would retire to their bedroom where they had a date with Webster, reciting letters and meanings.
Aristotle wrote that, “One of the best ways to habituate oneself in a particular virtue is to emulate those who already embody it.” As I witnessed Anoma’s dedication to helping her friend, I wondered where she had learned such virtuous love. I was always taught that the greatest example of Aristotle’s insight resided in the model of family - that parents embody love so that their children might learn to love; they embody trust so that their children might learn to trust, embody patience so that their children might learn patience, and charity so that their children might learn charity.
Yet, during my time at the Nurseries I came to understand that there is a greater, equally embodied love at work among the forsaken and among us all than that of parent to child. Each night at the orphanage, we would close our worship services by singing a familiar hymn:
Jesus loves me this I know/ for the bible tells me so/
little ones to Him belong/they are weak but He is strong
For these girls and young women, their point of reference for love came not by way of a parent’s example, but by way of Jesus. Jesus. Alive. Embodied. At the Nurseries, out of broken and imperfect beginnings came strong and perfect love. A love that had little to do with family of origin, genetics, or namesakes. A love that encouraged and supported, that guided and sustained. A love originating in and freely flowing from God, for Jesus explains: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love” (John 15:9). Speaking to his disciples here in John, Jesus calls upon them to model their love after his love for them. Yet, here Jesus is also emphasizing the power of God’s love and how it serves not only as the model for but as the motive for Jesus’ love for the disciples and our love for one another. In the words of 1 John, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
For, God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son to the world, incarnating his love in the person of Jesus Christ for all eternity. We have been begotten by a love-incarnate that has no beginning or end, created with a love that encompasses all that we are and encourages us in everything that we do. A love that washes out all of our flaws, deficiencies, and inadequacies. A love so powerful and pure that it sustains us, even and especially when we come into this world without a mother who’s wonderfully blind to all of our imperfections. A love that insists we can accomplish more than we ever thought possible, a love that encourages us to persist despite the greatest of challenges.
And if we allow God’s love to truly flourish within us, then we cannot help but to give it away, following Jesus’ commandment, “To love one another as I have loved you.” Christian love begets love begets love begets love.
I remember well that Saturday morning, boarding the overcrowded, smelly bus with Anoma and Shamalie, traveling hours to the University for the regional spelling bee. Anoma sat in the crowd, a mixture of nerves and pride, as her friend spelled her words on stage. Shamalie didn’t leave that day with the title of Paredynia’s Spelling Bee Champion, but she left unconditionally loved and encouraged.
True love moves through us – from mother to child, husband to wife, friend to friend – flowing from one person to another, as it seeks to find its way back to its origin in God.
 “By Love We Are Led to God,” by Christian Wiman in The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Winter/Spring 2012 (p. 33)
Chocolates, Conversation, Compromise: A Love Story
Rev. Estelle Margarones
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Gospel of Luke 10:25-29
Here we are, February 12th. I look forward to this week all year long. We've got a very special day coming up this week. Long stemmed red roses will be delivered, restaurants will be full, and cards will be exchanged. Tuesday is Valentine's Day.
But that special day that I love so much isn't Tuesday, the 14th...it's actually Wednesday, the 15th! Because that's when those big red, heart shaped boxes of chocolates will be 50% off!
Tuesday is Valentine's Day. A day set aside for love. So today we talk about love, but not about loving one other...instead, we talk about loving each other.
In the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, in Deuteronomy Chapter 6, verse 5 we learn that we should love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. In the New Testament, the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 10, Jesus changes it up a bit. First he says you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. Then he adds “and love your neighbor as yourself”.
Before Jesus, and even during his time, a neighbor was regarded as someone who lived nearby, but more, had the same ethnicity, the same language, the same culture, the same religion. Back then, people from different places had different customs. They wore different types of clothing. They spoke different languages...and they were often at odds with each other.
Jesus was asked “who is my neighbor?” and it was rather radical of him to give the example of the Good Samaritan.
You know this story, right? A Jewish man is mugged—he's robbed and beaten and he's left in a ditch. A Jewish rabbi comes by sees him and walks by, a Levite —also a Jewish man— walks by, sees him and turns the other way. A Samaritan comes upon the scene, is moved by what he sees, puts the man on his donkey, bandages his wounds, takes him to an inn and gives the innkeeper money to care for him. He also promises to pay whatever extra it takes to keep the man safe and on the mend.
What makes this so radical is that at that time, the Jewish people and the Samaritans had been enemies for years!
To Jesus, a neighbor was anyone with whom you came in contact. This is a great life lesson for us today. A reminder, as the day we celebrate love approaches, to love your neighbor as yourself.
Love is a way of being in relationship. It's a way of approaching the world
Our neighbors today are those who live near us, but they're also the people shopping alongside us at Shaw's, and dropping off their dry cleaning at Dependable Cleaners, and having dinner at the next booth at the Cheesecake Factory over at the Plaza. In 6 hours, you can be in Europe. And with the world wide web, you can shop at stores in Asia. Our neighbors also people across the globe.
Our neighbors are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and Humanist. Our neigbors speak English and Spanish and Mandarin. Some share your customs; others don't. Some of our neighbors have been here forever and some have just become citizens. Our neighbors are Republicans and Democrats and those who prefer the “unenrolled” designation.
The directive isn't to think like your neighbor. The charge isn't to act like your neighbor. It isn't to agree with everything they think or say or do. And it isn't to judge your neighbor. It's to LOVE your neighbor.
When you love, you care. Caring means that you recognize that we have more in common than we don't. And it sometimes means standing up for what's right even if there is some personal sacrifice or risk.
Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and concentration camp survivor, wrote the poem, “First They Came”.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.
We don't always have things in common with our neighbors. Witness, “the Good Samaritan”.
Love is a way of being in relationship. It's a way of approaching the world
Meet Ben. He lives on a farm in rural Maine. His family has owned acres of land for 300 years. Ben is an oil truck driver and his wife is a social worker. They have two little boys. For the past several years, Ben has had a side-business cutting firewood. About a year ago, the house next door was sold. Ben's new neighbor recently came over, angry. He'd been riding his horse when the horse was spooked by the noise of the wood chopper. He threw Ben's new neighbor to the ground.
Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. So...do you love your neighbor when he comes to your home and yells at you?
You could exchange angry words and tell him that since you pay your taxes, you have a right to do whatever you want.
You might ask that he pick a weekend time when he can ride and during which time you'll refrain from cutting wood? If you have a conversation and come to a compromise, you may even find that he teaches your kids to ride.... and he buys firewood from you!
As humans, we are hardwired with the capacity for compassion.
A couple of weeks ago on the news, you may have seen a bungee jumping accident on the news. A girl jumped off a cliff and a few seconds and several hundred feet into the fall, the bungee cord snapped and the girl hit the water, hard, and was carrried down in the current. Watching that, I felt my heart skip a beat. And I prayed for her. Have you ever had that kind of a reaction? Even though you don't know personally know the person, and even though you will never go bungee jumping, you have compassion for the one who had the accident.
Maybe that's what it was like for the Good Samaritan.
Love is a way of being in relationship. It's a way of approaching the world.
Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Start with a prayer. And a conversation. You will be strengthened when the fabric of your life is open to others.
When you love another, there is compromise. Do you communicate with others? Are you willing to see beyond yourself and to make changes to benefit others? (Will you also ask for what you need?)
When you love another, it's easy to see the good. Do you see the good in others? When you consider your life, do you see the good in yourself?
When you love another, you offer encouragement. Do you support others? (And do you see the possibilities in your own life?)
When you love another, it's easy to do things for that person. Do you care for others? (And do you take care of yourself?)
My friends in faith, when you love God, you live a full, rich, life.
When you love your neighbor you are compassionate, helpful, open to communication and willing to compromise.
When you love yourself, you are peaceful and hopeful, and you reflect God's light right back into the world. So love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. Blessed Be and Amen.