Sunday, February 21, 2021

Love in Balance -- a sermon on Martha, Mary, and the Parable of the Good Neighbour

Rev. Teri Peterson

Gourock St. John’s

Love in Balance

Luke 10.25-42 (CEB)

21 February 2021, NL3-31, Lent 1

After the transfiguration, Jesus continued his ministry of healing and teaching, with a new emphasis on talking with the disciples about his upcoming suffering, death, and resurrection. Just as he had sent the twelve out to teach and heal, he then sent out seventy apostles, to go in pairs into every village and town, sharing the good news and healing the sick. He told them not to take any extra supplies or money, but to rely on the people they met. They returned with many stories of the Spirit’s work, and Jesus rejoiced with them, even as he reminded them that it is God’s will to be revealed, not their own worthiness or work. Today’s reading begins at the end of that conversation, in Luke chapter 10, beginning at verse 25. I am reading from the Common English Bible.

A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?”

Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”

He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.”

Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”

But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbour to the man who encountered thieves?”

Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his message. By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.”

One of the things I like about the Narrative Lectionary is that it sets out readings in longer sections so we see the context in which Jesus says things, rather than only the short snippets we might be used to. In this case, it’s always surprising to me that the parable about the Samaritan who was a good neighbour and the story of Martha and Mary are next to each other. It seems so strange, to have Jesus tell a parable like that, about doing something to help another, and then immediately turn around and say that Mary has chosen the better part. 

That strangeness led me to do two things over the past couple of weeks. First, to check what else is going on — if the reading were even longer, what would we see? Well, backing up a little bit we find Jesus sending out 70 of his followers to do his work, his ministry, throughout the area, and then they come back and report on all that happened. It’s in the midst of that reporting that the legal expert asks his question. Perhaps he had been on the edges of the crowd, listening to all these things that Jesus’ followers had done, and that led him to ask his testy questions! 

And then after the story of Martha and Jesus talking about Mary, Jesus teaches his followers how to pray. Which is something that any rabbi of the day would instruct his disciples about, of course — and all the more poignant after witnessing Martha’s distress.

The second thing was to dig more deeply into the original language and what some of these words mean. Because we know that all translation is interpretation, but sometimes if we look at words that are shared across the several stories yet translated differently into English, we can get a sense of the point that Jesus is trying to make through these different angles.

This is the moment when I ran into something I had never noticed before. The story of Martha and Jesus and Mary is nowhere near as neat and tidy as we’ve been taught Martha’s housekeeping was. Translators have done quite a bit of interpreting along the way. 

For instance, in the oldest Greek manuscripts it says “Martha welcomed him” but doesn’t say anything about her house. That same phrase is the one used for those who receive Jesus’ message … and those who don’t, like the Samaritan village in chapter 9 where it says they “would not welcome him because his face was set toward Jerusalem” — they did not receive the message because they did not approve of his intentions. Martha welcomed him…but with no evidence anywhere of dinner being prepared!

Then it says that Martha also had a sister named Mary who also sat at the Lord’s feet…and all of those “also”s are left out of English translations. But it’s pretty important to know that Mary “also” sat at the Lord’s feet because it means that’s what Martha was doing, and Mary was also. And then to learn that every other time the phrase “sit at his feet” is used, it means to be a disciple — to travel with a teacher, to learn from him and to do what he does. It isn’t literally at that moment sitting on the floor while Jesus is on a chair, but following him with the other disciples, perhaps even being one of those seventy who had been sent out earlier in the chapter! 

The thing that was most startling to me, though, was the realisation that the word for “my sister has left me”…is a word that in about 80% of other times it is used means “went away” — like physically left, for good.

This is the point that I realised for the first time in 25 years of seriously reading the Bible that Mary never speaks in this story. She has no response to this conversation between Martha and Jesus. All the times I have wondered why Martha didn’t simply speak to Mary rather than triangulating Jesus suddenly made sense. There’s no evidence that Mary was actually there. In fact, it seems more likely that Mary was out in the community of disciples — perhaps even one of the seventy who travelled, two by two, through the countryside. We know there were at least a few women among that company, though it was outside the gender norms of the day. It’s very possible one of them was Mary, out ministering to people and proclaiming the good news.

Ministry is the word used to describe what Martha is doing — though our English translations use words like “getting ready for the meal” or “preparing the table” it’s actually the same word, diakonia, that was used for the angels ministering to Jesus in the wilderness, for Peter’s mother in law, and it’s the same word that will be used in the book of Acts to describe the ministry done by the apostles serving the community’s needs. So Martha sat at the Lord’s feet by doing practical ministry, serving people in need, possibly out of her home. And Mary also sat at the Lord’s feet, somewhere away from home, healing and teaching. And the story tells us that Martha was stressed by this — the words used actually mean she was “pulled in many directions” and “deeply distressed.” She’s carrying a huge emotional burden — as anyone is when someone they love is far away and doing things that could be dangerous. Yet she also needed to focus on the ministry right in front of her. She was feeling pulled apart, mind and heart in two places at once, torn between caring for people in her community and worrying about her sister. No wonder she asked Jesus to send her sister home!

When Jesus then noticed and named Martha’s worry, and told her only one thing is necessary, perhaps he was speaking to that sense of feeling torn, and inviting Martha into her own sense of wholeness, without worrying about whether someone else was doing it right or not. Perhaps he was even calling back to his own teaching about how family ties are changed in his community of followers, and so how Mary followed her call to discipleship was not Martha’s to control, just as how Martha was faithful was not in Mary’s control! And in fact, it says Mary has chosen a good way — not the best way or even a better way, but a good way. There’s no implication that Martha’s way is not good, but rather a sense that both are good and valid forms of serving God and neighbour. Deep down, Martha already knew that…but she still wanted to prove herself right, with Jesus or with her sister, and those competing desires, between sisterly love and faithful discipleship, were tearing her apart.

This is the moment when I saw a connection to the good neighbour parable that I’d never noticed before. I hope you all will tell me what you think of this connection, and whether it makes sense to you or not!

The legal expert — someone who knew perfectly well what the scripture says — asked Jesus what one thing he could tick off his to-do list that would guarantee him eternal life. When Jesus turned the question back on him, he revealed that he already knew the answer: to love God with all your being, and love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus said that is exactly how you live…a whole way of life rather than one thing to tick off the to-do list, not exactly about eternal life but rather about abundant life, but the legal expert seemed to understand…and so he looked for another loophole. Who exactly is the neighbour he ought to love the way he loved himself? And therefore who was he free to not love?

Jesus then told a story in which two characters love God more than they love their neighbour. The third character, shockingly, was an enemy, disliked, sometimes feared, and generally thought to be wrong in their religious beliefs… and he behaved with compassion. He set aside his business, his travel plans, and his resources to help someone he did not know and could not have recognised…yet he did recognise him, as a fellow child of God. His love of God and his love of neighbour were balanced, and it showed in his actions. 

Then Jesus was welcomed by Martha, who was feeling pulled in every direction in service to others, so much that she was beginning to lose her own sense of self, and she thought having her sister there would help. Her love was out of balance too — she was showing more love to her neighbour than to herself or to God — and she was feeling the pressure of that imbalance. 

Perhaps these stories are really one big story about what loving God and neighbour looks like. When we’re too caught up in our godliness, we may feel we can’t risk that for anything, even an emergency. And when we’re too caught up in our service, we may feel pulled apart and like we need someone else to come fill us up. When the balance is right, we’re able to see past the to-do list, past the rules, and truly love each child of God we come across.

As Jesus said to the legal expert, and to Martha, and to us: You already know this. None of this is headline news or a groundbreaking discovery — God wrote the covenant on our hearts and called us to love. Do this and you will live. Not just after death, but a whole life worth living, to the full, in God’s kingdom now.

As we begin this season of Lent, may we recognise God’s call to love. Amen.

**among other sources, this paper presented to the Society of Biblical Literature in 2014 (and the basis of a later book) was most helpful in curating a list of footnotes and language notes to supplement my mediocre greek knowledge when I started to realise that something was fishy with the Martha and Mary translations:

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Truth Raises Up -- a sermon on Mark 1.29-39, Peter's mother in law and other healings

Rev. Teri Peterson

Gourock St. John’s // for moderator’s national online service

Truth Raises Up

Mark 1.29-39 NRSV

7 February 2021, Ordinary 5B

The video of the whole service is here, or the manuscript of just the sermon is below.

Today’s reading is from the gospel according to Mark, chapter 1, verses 29 - 39. It was the Sabbath and Jesus had been teaching in the synagogue, and while he was there he healed a man who had an unclean spirit. We pick up the story at the end of the sabbath day service. I am reading from the New Revised Standard Version. 

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.


Hello friends, I’m Teri Peterson, minister of St. John’s in Gourock, and I am so grateful to the moderator for the invitation to be here, and to you for joining me as we encounter God’s living word together today. 

I’d like to ask you to imagine a scene — one that may feel strange just now, as it’s something we haven’t been able to do in nearly a year, but try to picture it: people spilling out of a building — a church, a theatre, a comedy club, a concert — into the street, milling around talking to each other about what they saw and heard inside. The group disperses as they head to different places to continue their conversations, at the pub, on the bus, walking home. 

That sabbath day the people spilled out of the synagogue into the streets of Capernaum with more than enough to talk about for the rest of the day. They had seen something amazing! Simon and Andrew headed home, with their business partners James and John, like they always did, going for their traditional Saturday lunch, and they were lucky enough to be first to invite the guest preacher round for the roast. Imagine them talking about all they had seen and heard that morning, chatting away as they walked home, and everyone else in town doing the same, though looking enviously after them and wishing they had been able to invite Jesus themselves.

Once in the house, things took a bit of a turn though. It’s hard to have a roast ready when the matriarch of the family is ill. This moment in the gospel is the only time we get a glimpse of the disciples’ private family lives — Simon Peter must have been married, in order to have a mother-in-law, though we never hear anything about his wife or any children. His mother-in-law may have been a widow, as she was living with Peter and Andrew and there’s no father-in-law mentioned. Many of us have experienced what it’s like to be unwell and need to stay separate from the rest of the family, and we know that one of the major difficulties with illness is how isolated we feel. When Peter took Jesus in to see her, Jesus did the very thing she longed for, and that we are constantly being told not to do just now — he reached out and touched her hand! What it actually says is that he raised her up — and she began to serve them. 

He raised her up — words we have heard before. The psalmist says “you raised me up from the miry pit.” Isaiah says “you raise me up on wings like eagles.” And, of course, at the end of the gospel the angels tell the women at the empty tomb, “Jesus is not here, he has been raised.” He raised her up, and she began to serve.

Now I used to think “great, she was just desperately ill a few minutes ago, and now she has to make the dinner? Can’t these young men do anything for themselves?” But actually, it doesn’t say she got up and cooked for them, it says she ministered to them. It’s the same word that describes how the angels ministered to Jesus in the wilderness during his forty days of fasting, and the word for how women provided for and enabled Jesus’ ministry, and the word for Jesus’ famous teaching “the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.” And that word is deacon. So Jesus raised her up, and she began to deacon — to minister through service. Peter’s mother-in-law is the first human in the gospel to respond in this way — to recognise that her raising was for a purpose larger than herself. She was restored to health, and to her rightful place as matriarch, but also to her God-given calling to be one who acts like Jesus, who came to serve. Having encountered his powerful grace, she turned around and shared it with others — something her son-in-law and his eleven fellows never quite figured out, as they continually misunderstood and argued about who was best and tried to get Jesus to fit their mould of a Messiah, rather than being themselves moulded in his image. This is not to say only those with the title “deacon” are called to minister in this way, but rather that like Peter’s mother-in-law, deacons model for all of us what a faithful response to Jesus looks like in tangible, practical service. The mother-in-law acts like angels, and like Jesus, when she is raised up to serve.

Not a moment too soon, either, because the instant the sun set, marking the end of the Sabbath, all those people who wished they could have had Jesus round for tea flocked to the front door — people who were curious, people who had sick loved ones, people who were being harassed by demonic voices, people who were ill. 

Now I want to talk for a minute about one of the most difficult things we read in the gospels, about people possessed by demons. Sometimes we know that was a pre-scientific explanation for certain illnesses. But it’s clear that people in biblical times did not believe all illness to be caused by demons, and they also didn’t believe that all demon possession resulted in illness. Sometimes they use a word that could be translated “demonised” — in a similar sense of terrorised, like being harassed by demons. 

And that is something I think we still know about today. 

Sometimes those voices that harass are meant to make people feel like outsiders, like they are “other”, a “them” against our “us.” Those voices swirl about in our public discourse and our private conversations, sometimes purposefully and sometimes unintentionally making people feel they are less-than, unwanted, not good enough, different in a bad way. 

And sometimes those voices worm their way in to our minds and hearts, and we start to believe them. And that starts to change us and how we talk about ourselves and about others, to change how we behave, to change how we feel. And pretty soon we don’t need anyone else to tell us how unloveable or dangerous or what a failure we are, because we’re telling ourselves…and then turning those same words on anyone else who is even more different, that we can make out to be below us.

When we are possessed by these demons, it can be hard to see that anything is wrong, it’s just the way things are, and we don’t understand why people want to be “politically correct,” or inclusive, or work for justice that would level the playing field for all. 

Yet the gospel says that when Jesus encountered these demons, he would not allow them to speak, because they recognised him. They still recognised Truth, with a capital T, and it scared them. These demons do not want to be confronted with truth, because they know it will be their end. So they do everything they can to avoid it and to discredit the truth…but Jesus didn’t listen or make room for both sides, he cast them out and forced them into silence.

I wonder if being freed from those voices felt like being raised up. Like a weight had been lifted, a curtain opened, a breath of fresh air sweeping in. And what it might feel like now, for those demons to be confronted and silenced by the Truth that God is love, and all people are made in God’s image and beloved and called. Would it feel like such a raising up that we would immediately turn that lightness toward service? Toward ministering to others, and helping them encounter the Truth, and so spreading the good news?

Jesus says that he needs to go proclaim the message in other towns, because that is what he came out to do…and proclaiming the message is always accompanied by casting out demons. Speaking the truth of God’s love always results in the silencing of those lying voices that tell us some people are less. 

Imagine, if you will, another scene. Imagine the Body of Christ, speaking the truth of grace, love, and justice…embodying the truth of God’s desire for wholeness that leads to service…insisting on truth that silences falsehoods of othering and marginalisation and me-first…imagine proclaiming the message of God’s abundant life for all, and what power that truth might have in this world.

As Walt Disney said, “if you can dream it, you can do it.” As the Spirit opens our eyes to see this vision, Christ takes us by the hand and raises us up…and we are to respond in gratitude, by ministering to the world that God so loves, with truth.

May it be so. Amen.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Present Tense -- a sermon on Luke 6

Rev. Teri Peterson

Gourock St. John’s

Present Tense

Luke 6.1-16 (New Revised Standard Version)

31 January 2021, NL3-24

Last week we heard about Jesus teaching from Simon Peter’s boat, and then miraculously guiding him and his business partners through the largest catch of fish anyone on the Sea of Galilee had ever seen. Once they got the fish to shore, Jesus called them to follow him. Jesus and his new disciples then went throughout the towns of Galilee, and Jesus healed people in ways that began to make other people, including religious leaders, suspicious — including by touching a man with leprosy, and by forgiving sins before telling a paralysed man to get up and walk. Then Jesus called another disciple, Levi, who was a tax collector, and went to his house for dinner, causing yet more scandal among the other teachers and leaders — and causing consternation when he tried to teach them that new wine and old wineskins don’t mix well.

We pick up the story today in the gospel according to Luke, chapter 6, verses 1-16. I am reading from the New Revised Standard Version.

One sabbath while Jesus was going through the cornfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?’ Jesus answered, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?’ Then he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’

On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come and stand here.’ He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?’ After looking around at all of them, he said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

These are the kinds of stories that many people stereotypically associate with Jesus — conflict with the Pharisees over their understanding of God’s law. Too often, our interpretation of these stories leans toward anti-semitism, as we forget that Jesus was Jewish and that in many ways these disputes were a family argument about tradition. When we read about the arguments, we need to remember that everyone back then was doing the same thing we all are doing now: trying to determine how to put God’s word into practice in everyday life, and they didn’t always agree about the best way to do that. 

What they did agree on was that it was important, and that the community needed to hold everyone accountable to living up to God’s call. There was a sense that each person’s choices had an impact on the whole community, or even the whole nation. They were bound together and what one did affected them all. 

So when it looked as if Jesus and his disciples were flouting the sabbath rules by harvesting and processing grain on a day when you weren’t supposed to do any work, some of the Pharisees had to speak up. 

It seems as if the owner of the field had followed the law, in that he left he edges of the field unharvested so that those in need would be able to harvest some and so not go hungry. But for a person who was not in immediate danger of starvation to do that harvesting on the Sabbath was a no-no. Naturally some Pharisees were concerned about the slippery slope — if you can harvest and shuck a quick snack on the sabbath, then what else can you do? But they were also concerned about divine consequences. They prided themselves on knowing their story as God’s chosen people, and that story included consequences that still felt like yesterday, though it was hundreds of years ago. 

It’s that same concern they have in mind when they’re at synagogue another week. There’s a member with a disability — notice the text doesn’t tell us anything about him and doesn’t say it was unusual for him to be there. He’s one among them, a part of the congregation. Yet his disability was the first thing some of the scribes and pharisees thought about when they saw Jesus make his way down the aisle. It betrays the probably subconscious truth that they didn’t think of him as “George who sits halfway back, next to Sue, he works at the shop.” They thought of him as “the man who has something wrong with him.” So even though he hadn’t come specifically looking for Jesus, and he didn’t ask for anything — he was just in his usual pew like any other Saturday morning — when his fellow members saw Jesus, their first thought was to keep an eye out and see if Jesus was going to do something about it so they could get a good argument.

When Luke tells us that Jesus knew what they were thinking, I always wonder if he simply means that Jesus could tell they were looking for a fight, or if he means that Jesus could tell that they thought of their neighbour as a condition to be cured rather than as a person. The way Jesus asked them “is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath” and then asked the man to hold up his hand — notice that Jesus didn’t touch him, didn’t say anything to him, didn’t do anything you might expect for a healing. It’s almost as if it happened while he was talking to those people who could see nothing but the hand, instead of the living, breathing, beloved person made in God’s image. 

No wonder they were furious. Jesus had shown them up and brought their secret thoughts into the open, while doing something they were fairly certain he should not do… but in a way that meant they couldn’t pin down exactly what was wrong. Of course you can do good on the Sabbath, right? It’s always been a clear Jewish teaching, from the earliest days of Torah interpretation. But where is the line between doing “good” and doing “work”? It didn’t fit into their telling of God’s story.

Back in the fields, Jesus had referenced a pretty obscure moment in the life of David. He talked about a time, after David had been anointed by Samuel but while Saul was still king. David and his friends were fleeing from Saul’s rage, and they came to a holy place where they allowed the priests to believe they were on official king’s business. They convinced the priests that they had kept all the holiness rules and so should be allowed to eat the bread, since there was nothing else available. In that moment, from God’s perspective David was king and so he was, technically, anointed and on the king’s business. The priests didn’t know that, though. Their understanding of the story had not yet caught up to the changed reality of the world around them. 

Isn’t that often what happens to us? The ways we tell God’s story sometimes don’t keep up with the reality of what God is up to, and we get caught in old ways that no longer meet the needs around us. Some of the Pharisees were having trouble seeing that Jesus was a game-changer, that he brought God’s story into the present tense rather than always being something from the past that they needed to figure out. Because discerning how to live God’s word in our own lives, here and now, is important. But we can’t do it if we think the story is all in the past. God is still writing the story all around us and within us and through us, if only we will pay attention to the true reality of God’s kingdom rather than simply the assumptions we have made about “the way things are.”

How do we, as a community, figure out what faithfulness means in our modern lives? What does God’s word have to do with real situations, not just long-ago far-away ones? And how does our responsibility to each other look now that we may not be arguing about what counts as work on the Sabbath, but instead about what is right to do or not do in the midst of a pandemic? 

The question about what one could do on the Sabbath wasn’t about what was good or even felt important for the person who was doing it. It was about what was good for the whole community, and the impact that one person’s actions would have on the whole. Isn’t that the same question we are asking right now? Not just “can I do what I want” but “what affect will my choice have on others?” It’s the question for things that want to be open, but the impact on the whole community needs to outweigh their desire. It's the question for the gatherings we wish we could have, and the holidays we wish we could book, and so much more. And we have seen the devastation that comes to the whole when we act as if our one area or sector or day is different, so it makes sense that we, as a community, would need these same kinds of conversations the Pharisees were having with Jesus, holding each other accountable to the common good. And hopefully we will come down where Jesus does, as he challenges the old interpretations of the story in light of new reality…can we challenge the old story we have told about economics, politics, social life, and what is essential? And then join Jesus on the side of doing good even if it isn’t what we would prefer, recognising and caring for the full humanity and value of others even if it’s not convenient for us, and putting our feelings of compassion for others into actions of mercy that offer abundant life for all.

May it be so. Amen.