Today we celebrate Christ the King Sunday, or "The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe" as it is very formally known.
Christ the what now?
If you have not heard of this festival, there is good reason. It was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, and only caught on with Protestants in the 1970's. Maybe Pastor Kevin celebrated it, but probably not many of your pastors before him did.
In any case, the purpose of Christ the King Sunday is fairly straightforward: it is a day for Christians to remind themselves that we acclaim Jesus' sovereignty over the entire creation—you, me, everybody else, all of nature, the stars and the moon, space and time itself. It all belongs to the one king, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Before I tell you what that means, let me tell you something about why Christ the King came about in the first place. Pius was faced with three challenges in his tenure as pope: secularism, nationalism, and the Italian government. Just as in the US today, people were dropping away from church. They no longer saw it as having a role in their lives.
Then in Mexico, Russia, and later in Spain, revolutionary movements attacked the church and killed priests in the name of national sovereignty.
Back home in Italy, there was an ongoing dispute over who controlled what. Without going too far into the weeds, the Pope used to reign over the Papal States. As the modern republic of Italy formed, those states steadily shrank until the Pope was left with just Rome under his control. Finally, in 1929, the Catholic church and the Italian government reached a deal: the government took Rome, but agreed to recognize what we now know as Vatican City as a separate nation. If you've ever wondered why the Pope is treated as a head of state, that's it.
The short version of all of this is that the Pope felt like the Catholic faith was being disrespected (as the kids say) everywhere he turned. So in response, he instituted Christ the King to remind everybody who was really in charge around here, anyway. That's not to say that Pius was being completely cynical in creating the feast: its elements are well-rooted in the Christian faith. But he found it useful to put those elements out there in this form. He was quite open about hoping that it would help him in negotiations with the Italians.
We're not used to thinking of our faith in such political terms, but the fact is, it's been wrapped up in politics from day one. We only have to look to the gospel to understand this. When the Romans (those pesky Italians again) took over Israel, they installed a puppet government (that's Herod). The Jews had three basic options in response. They could cooperate, as the Sadducees did; they could fight, as the Essenes did, or like the Pharisees and the Christians, they could try to work out something in the middle. Jesus is sent before Pilate because his opponents—the Sadducees and the Pharisees—push him out in front and say to the Romans, "Psst, he wants to be our king, and get rid of you!" And you know the Romans won't take kindly to that.
Try as they might, though, Jesus' enemies can't quite get Pilate to take the bait. He asks Jesus if there's any truth to the charges, to which Jesus basically responds, "Look, if I want to be king, it's not in any way that you understand the term. If I wanted to be that kind of ruler, my guys would be fighting yours, but they're not. I'm just here to tell the truth." That might have satisfied Pilate, but unfortunately for Jesus, it wasn't enough to get him off the hook with his enemies, and off to the cross he went.
If Jesus was not a king along the ordinary lines, then what sort of king was he? There are two answers typically given. One is to say, as John does in his Revelation, that Christ is "the ruler of the kings of the earth." That is, he is a higher power—a much higher power—and so rules above even the mightiest of earthly royalty.
The other answer is to say, as Paul does in Philippians, that Jesus is a qualitatively different sort of king. That's what we'll read in just a few minutes in our affirmation of faith: that Jesus' kingship is the paradoxical result of his willingness to humble himself to the point of being a slave executed on the cross. (For the confirmands, what I mean is that you would expect that if Jesus acted like a slave, he would be a slave. Instead, because he acted like a slave, God made him king of the universe. It' completely illogical, yet here we are.)
There is another way to understand Christ as King, however. Psalm 27 asks,
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
Or as the old hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" puts it: "What have I to fear, with my Lord so near?" Because God in Christ is the ultimate King, and nobody else is, we need not fear anyone—or anything—else. Look, for example, at the story of Jesus sleeping in the boat as a storm threatens to overwhelm it. When the disciples wake him in alarm, he barks at the wind and the seas, "Be still!" Then I imagine he simply rolls over and goes back to sleep, while the disciples stare at one another in terror and amazement. He's not concerned, because he knows who's really in charge.
And here's the thing: before Jesus shows the storm who's king and who's not, he has words for the disciples. Again, I imagine him sort of muttering under his breath, "Oh, ye of little faith." He clearly expects them to have a little more trust that he will take care of them.
I wish that more people would hear Jesus' message. We have heard an unreasonable and frankly disgusting amount of fear-mongering this week about Syrian refugees. It's reasonable to express some concerns about refugees in the wake of the attacks in Paris, although I have to say it's unjustified. So far, no Syrian admitted to the US as a refugee has arrested for committing a crime, much less perpetrating an act of terror. In fact, of the nearly 1 million people brought into the US as refugees, none of them has later been involved in terrorism. Still, if you worry that it might happen, that's fine, and I thank you for your caution on my behalf.
But what we have seen from one politician after another goes far beyond the limits of reasonable concern. There have been calls to continuously monitor refugees, to intern them in camps like we did with Japanese citizens in World War II, to give them special ID cards noting their religion, to register them in a database, to ban them from resettling in certain states or to chase out the ones who have already arrived with the National Guard, and to close American mosques. Maybe I've missed one or two suggestions along the way. These ideas have come from across the political spectrum, and they are on top of suggestions that we should slow the resettlement process down or even end it altogether. Worst of all, these reactions seem to be driven not by legitimate concern, but in order to secure political advantage, on both sides of the aisle.
Whether or not the US should accept refugees from Syria or other primarily Muslim nations is a question of policy that can be debated either way. Personally, I think it would be heartless to close our doors to people in need, but then I am a pastor. I get paid to be a bleeding heart. So fine, political leaders are within their rights to talk about whether the American refugee program is being run properly and whether we should have one in the first place.
What is not acceptable is to dehumanize people, to make them the objects of hate, suspicion and fear. If this keeps up, it will only be a matter of time before somebody gets the bright idea to kill some Muslims. I sincerely hope that this last week has not soured you on the idea of welcoming a family like the [one we had intended to host]. I especially hope that you would not be put off your ministry of hospitality because you worry about what your friends or neighbors might have to say.
Because the truth is that we have nothing to fear from the [family we knew], or any other refugee family. You'd have a much better chance of getting hit by lightning, twice, than being the victim of a terrorist attack, but that's not the point.
The point is that Christ is King, and nobody else. We have nothing to fear because, as the Heidelberg Catechism has it, we are not our own, but we belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to our faithful savior, Jesus Christ. If he truly rules our heart, there is nothing in the world that we need to be afraid of. He loves us and he has freed us from our sins by his blood. Against that, what is a terrorist? He is our Alpha and our Omega, our beginning and our end. Nothing, not bombs or guns or terror attacks, can take us away from him, because he is sovereign over all. Nor can they take us away from the life we are intended to live, or from being the people we are intended to be.
The only thing that can take us away from Christ our King is ourselves giving up on our own humanity. He is a humble king, and gentle, the one who would not bruise a reed or extinguish a smoldering wick in order to establish his rule. He leaves it to us to decide in freedom if we want to be loyal subjects, if we want to follow in the way of his love or walk in the way of fear. You make your own decisions about the number of threats facing our nation, and their severity. You make your decisions about how you want to live your faith. But as for me, I know my path. I will close by paraphrasing the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: with Christ as our King, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Amen.
So I wrote a thing last night about why the death rate for middle-class white folks has been shooting up, and how Christians ought to respond:
How proud the founders of Bethany must have been! Some of you were there, maybe you can tell me after worship what it was like in 1961. But I have to imagine that there was a great deal of pride to have successfully merged two and then three congregations, as well as relief to know that the future of those communities was assured for at least a few more years. There must have been even more pride and excitement when this building was constructed, a visible symbol of the new life of the congregation and a testament in bricks and mortar to its strength. And there must have been even more excitement when you built the apartments next door. Look at what we're capable of doing!
Now of course, we're a bit anxious about our future. We wonder what we will still be able to accomplish. Probably, we are saddened by the memory of things we used to be able to accomplish, but can no longer.
Both pride and worried sadness are human emotions. They're completely natural, nothing wrong with them. Yet when it comes to the life of faith, Jesus warns us away from either extreme.
Just before this morning's lesson opens, he is being challenged by a group of scribes, one of whom asks him what the greatest commandment is. You know the answer already: "Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself." There is nothing in his instructions about being proud to love God or neighbor, much less broadcast it to everyone you know. No one cares how much money you give or how much you pray. We are not called to be showboats of piety. Jesus makes that abundantly clear in warning his disciples about behaving like the scribes.
No one ever thinks they're being proud, of course. We all like to say that we're just acting with confidence, or giving thanks for what God has allowed us to do, or showing the world the importance of being faithful. And yet it's there. I've bragged about what a great congregation you are, and how lucky I am to be here. I also sure let people know when I got a new house or a new car. This is what Facebook is for.
There is also the kind of boasting that covers up the rottenness underneath. Jesus—or more likely Mark speaking for Jesus—charges the scribes with "devouring widows' houses," meaning to charge exorbitant fees to manage their husband's estate after his death. In other words, they're cheating the people they're supposed to be protecting. Jesus warns that this will incur severe judgment.
Fortunately, neither arrogance nor hypocrisy is the biggest problem in the church. We don't see much of people who act exactly like the scribes. The more common problem is when we allow our accomplishments to define our self-worth. Too often churches think that because they no longer have a Sunday School crammed full of children, or struggle to keep up their building, or can barely afford a minister, they are somehow less than those fancy, young, energetic churches who have all the families and money they could ever need. There is a trap involved here. When we constantly celebrate our accomplishments and encourage people to do more, more, more, bigger, bigger, bigger, better, better, better in the name of Christ, we base our worth on what we can do, rather than the love of God in Christ. And when we can no longer do those things…
I'm talking about churches, but this again applies to us as individuals. I can't tell you how many elderly folks I have spoken to who feel bad about themselves because they can't get to church on Sunday morning or do all their housework for themselves. They really think they're worth less because they're not able to do as much as they once could.
Poppycock. God doesn't love the widow any less because she can only put two ha'pennies in the collection plate. Nor does God love you any less because you can individually only put five bucks in the plate (apparently there has been some inflation since Jesus' time), or collectively only call a pastor three-quarters time. God's love is poured out on all of us, rich or poor, strong in prayer or struggling to believe. To be a Christian is above all else to know ourselves loved by God, and to allow ourselves to be remade in that love.
The widow Jesus points to shows us what it means to be remade. She demonstrates gratitude for God's many gifts by returning them to God. She praises God for those gifts through the quiet statement of her offering. You know what they say about "money talks, bovine by-product walks?"1 Well, she's talking here. She's talking.
She also trusts in God to provide. As Jesus notes, she places "all she has" in the treasury. She will have to depend on God's grace and mercy if she is to stay alive.
The Old Testament texts suggested to go along with the gospel story also emphasize trust in God. This must a traditional harvest Sunday. One option is to read the conclusion of the story of Ruth, where Ruth's mother-in-law Naomi says to her, "My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you." She does just that by essentially teaching Ruth how to seduce Boaz. The plan works, Boaz and Ruth are married, and she becomes pregnant. Everybody's happy! The women of the community tell Ruth:
"Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him."
The kid goes on to become the grandfather of David. But we hear that language of providence, of God providing. God gives Naomi "next-of-kin" who will "restore" or "give back" her life and nourish her when she can no longer care for herself. As Psalm 127 says, "Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." Forgive the sexist language; the point is that sons can provide for parents, where daughters cannot. Today we can expand that to include all children without challenging God's grace, I think.
The other option for an Old Testament text is the story of the prophet Elijah visiting a widow in Zarephath, whom he asks for a morsel of bread. She replies that she and her son were just about to eat their last food and die, but Elijah tells her to go ahead and make the bread, that God will provide for them until "the Lord sends rain on the earth." Presumably after that, they'll be able to grow enough food to support themselves. She does and he does. God is good to those who trust.
Ruth, Naomi, the woman in Zarephath, the woman Jesus points out to his disciples: we have four widows, whom no one expects to be able to make ends meet. Yet because of God's love, they are. Even better, they are able to care for others. Naomi helps Ruth find a husband, Ruth brings up her son Obed to care for Granny Naomi. Elijah's friend knows she has nothing to give him, really, but she gives up what little she does in trust that he's right about God providing. Likewise, Jesus' widow gives away that last little bit to the Temple, which will use it to support the poor.
In other words, she acts in faith and trust. In fact, all four widows do. They show how grateful they are for God's providing for them, the extent to which they believe that God's loving support will continue to flow, by taking concrete action. Not just any action, mind you: action that imitates what God has done for them.
The course Jesus wants us to steer between pride and worried sadness is love. God is neither arrogantly boastful about his accomplishments, nor fretful that they can no longer be repeated. God gives in love, provides in love, lives in love and through love. God wants us to do the same, and to know that we will always have what we need to live in imitation of the divine love for us. It's true that Jesus' widow gives proportionally much more than the rich men who only donate from their surplus, but the real point, I think, is that she lives so close to God's ways that she can give away her last two ha'pennies, knowing that something will come along to replace them. There is always enough, through God's grace and mercy.
There is always enough for you, and there is always enough for us collectively. It matters even less than the widow's coins how much you can do, how much time or energy or material resources you can put into what you do. What matters is that you give, and give in love. What matters is that God loves you, and provides for you. We can parse it out all you like, but in the end, the truth boils down to this: this widow knows how richly God has blessed her, and she acts accordingly. So should you.
Be grateful, live in trust and faith, act. Above all else, know that God loves you, God has given you all you need, and God will continue to give you all need. Spend your pennies wisely, which is to say generously, and don't waste a minute worrying about little they are. Amen.
It appears that on All Saints Sunday last year, I spoke at some length on actual saints. I find hagiography (that's the study of saints) a fascinating subject, one well worth the time I invest into it. If memory serves, you do not. That, as far as I can tell, is because you're sane, reasonable people. Therefore, I will not bore you with talk about St. This or St. That or St. Such-and-So. I will bore you with another subject entirely. Kind of.
If I promise to be brief, will you forgive me?
It's like this: in our confirmation class last week, we watched a video that talked about whether it was enough to believe in Jesus, or if we had to follow him, meaning to imitate his actions. The conclusion the video worked up to was that the Christian faith isn't about what we believe, or what we do. In fact, it isn't about us at all. It's about God, about what God has done for us and what God continues to do for—and through—us.
A more sophisticated way to talk about this is to say that we participate in the life of God. It is Jesus who lives in us, and in that life we live in God.
To make things just that much more complicated, the life of the God we know in the Holy Trinity is self-giving by nature. Jesus graciously defers to God the Father, who makes room for the work of the Holy Spirit, and they all make room for us. Because their life is our life, their nature is our nature. The work of the Christian faith is to uncover our authentic selves, the ones marked by mercy, compassion, and generosity. The saints, I want to suggest to you, are the people who have learned this lesson already. On All Saints Day, we remember the capital-S Saints who found their true nature in life and modeled it for the rest of us. We also remember the small-s saints, the dead who have gone before us, who have found their true lives in death.
I know this is heady stuff. What you need to know is that the saints are those people who have heard and received the promise of new life in Christ. By weeping to see the grief of Martha and Mary, Jesus demonstrates the compassionate love of God for humanity. And by bringing Lazarus out of his tomb Jesus shows by actions what Paul tells us in words: "whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s," who is "the Lord of the living and the dead." Which is to say, when we find our lives in God, our physical state becomes irrelevant. The saints are united with Christ and with one another across time and whether living or dead. On All Saints Day we remember those who are no longer physically alive. More important, we express our basic and unbreakable connection to the saints through communion, liturgy, and lighting candles.
In that expression we participate in the reality of the connection we proclaim. We are united with the dead because we say we are. We are united with the dead because they—and we—have our lives in Christ.
On All Saints Day, we affirm the truth of the promises made to us by God: that some day God will feed us with rich food and well-aged wine on Mt. Zion. There is no money that can buy our lives, but God provides them and sustains them for free. God will destroy on Zion "the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations." That's not a funeral shroud, but a mourner's veil, or possibly the curtain that kept the innermost sanctuary of the Temple hidden. We trust and we believe in the promise that we will see God face-to-face, and be united with him in the new life to come after our deaths.
We trust and we believe that the Lord God "will swallow up death forever," that "the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces." (We believe that so much we put it in John's Revelation, all the way at the other end of the Bible.) There will come a day when death is no more, a day when there will be no cause for weeping or mourning, because we will be on Mt. Zion with God.
There will come a day, but not today. Today we are allowed our sadness and grief because the ones whom we love have fallen asleep in the Lord. We can remember them with happiness too, of course, with anger if need be. However we want to call the dead to mind, we are allowed, because this is All Saints Day, whether with a big S or a small s, and some perhaps not even saints at all. That's okay, too. God will gather all the people in.
As we remember, as we express and experience our continuing life with the saints who have gone before us, we must know that what we believe about life and death is not the important thing here. Neither is whether we ourselves are living or dead. It is the ongoing life of God that matters. That life overflows into our lives. It calls our lives into being, nourishes them, and sends them on to their final destination, secure in and united with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. With the saints, we give thanks for the continuing life we have received, and look to the one that has been promised in the kingdom to come, so that on the final day, we can say, "This is the Lord for whom we have waited. Let be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Amen.
One of the most common questions churches have today is: "How do we get the young people in here?" Congregations want to know that they will be able to pass on their faith to another generation and continue their community life. Some churches would rather age out and die rather than adapt, of course, but most really would like to have younger members joining.
I also have spent a fair amount of time thinking about the question. Honesty compels me to admit that I consider it out of self-preservation as much as anything. Churches closing means fewer job opportunities for me. So I do have a selfish interest in the subject.
The recent answer to the question "How do we get young people in here?" has been: praise bands and lots of programming for children and young families. But trading organs and handbells for guitars is no guarantee that the church will grow. Neither is all the programming. Children want and need the nurture of individual attention. You can have all the activity nights you want, but without that kind of personal connection, you won't get very far.
I found attracting families easier when I had young kids myself. People respond when they know the pastor understands their lives. The congregation has to understand as well. Many churches lose young members because the older folks are in such a rush to dump the life of the church on them, without stopping to consider the pressures they're under. I mean, it's stressful being a parent, and it's only getting worse! (My son is an angel who has never caused me a moment of grief in his life.)
The more significant issue with these strategies is that they do little if anything to pass on the faith we hold so dear. The real question isn't "How do we get the young people in here?" It's "How do we teach young people the depths of our faith?" We have to ask the same of ourselves, because we cannot pass on the faith without being willing to engage it actively in our own lives. It does no good to sit back and consume the faith passively. We have to live it in order for it to be attractive.
I'm sure you know what's coming next. Many people these days are not very interested in institutional religion. You've heard me say that. What they seem to want is to serve, to connect with others, and to have an experience of God. They see little value in a structured community like the church to help them achieve these goals. In fact, as I said recently, they often see the church as a hindrance to getting what they need from their faith. They would be all too happy to find God in friends or in nature.
Is there nothing we can offer, then? Must we resign ourselves to a slow death? I don't think so, no.
What we have to offer that no one else can is the gift of healing that can only come from God in Christ. Jesus shows the way when he heals blind Bartimaeus: "Go; your faith has made you well," he says. We could just as easily translate Jesus' words as "Go, your trust has made you whole," or "has saved you," or even "given you peace." It's one of those complex ideas that has many applications.
And it is what people want, I think. We are here because we crave the wholeness, the healing, the peace of a structured community. Others may find it outside of an institution like ours, or sometimes in church, sometimes not. The future church will have to work to demonstrate to the people outside the walls how it can offer the wellness given by Jesus to the world, but also to honor the looser-knit ways of relating that are becoming more common these days.
Whether inside the church or out, people need the same thing. We are fractured by a world that demands multiple roles of us, whether we are young or old. We are damaged by the many demands on our time, the constant overwhelming flow of information, the worry over the state of the world. We struggle to maintain relationships from a distance.
The plain fact is that this is a challenging time to be alive. Bartimaeus needed healing for his blindness, we need healing for our stress and anxiety.
Jeremiah has a vision of what this healing might look like. God promises to bring the people of Israel back from exile, "from the land of the north…from the farthest parts of the earth," and gather them here, in the land of Israel, to "walk by brooks of water."
My friend Diana Butler Bass points out that whenever earth is mentioned in scripture, it's difficult to determine if it's being used as a symbol or meant literally. That seems to be the case here. Is God promising to draw the people of Israel back together, or is this a promise to bring them back to this land and this water? It's hard to say, and that's probably the point. When Jesus offers salvation to Bartimaeus, it's not separate from the physical healing he is given. When God restores the people of Israel, it is by bringing them back to an actual, physical land. The gift of God's wholeness is, well, whole. It's not possible to divide it into physical and spiritual components.
A few years ago, Diana wrote a book about vibrant mainline Protestant churches. She said recently that she was struck by how many of them had gardens. Some were community gardens, some grew food for the local pantry, some were flower gardens grown for no better reason than just because. Her point isn't that gardens are good tools for evangelism, though. It's that places deeply rooted in faith are often literally grounded in the soil. She talks about visiting a retreat center in Minnesota that has a circle cut in the center of its chapel floor to connect worshippers to the earth, and a church in California that meets outdoors in a garden the community maintains together.
I can never decide if alternative churches like this are daffy or brilliant. Perhaps a bit of both. But I read elsewhere this week about early Christian communities that had baptismal pools decorated with deer in their sanctuaries, a nod to Psalm 42: "As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for God." We tend to think that church building have to be centered on the pulpit and the altar, but it's not so. Jesus left no instructions about architecture.
So imagine with me what it would be like to have an "earth well" in the center of our sanctuary. This is strictly an exercise in imagination! Can you smell the goodness of the soil? Can you see the dirt, how black and crumbly it is? Can you imagine reaching down and touching it, gritty and moist and relaxing?
Perhaps we can also imagine things growing in the dirt: roses, maybe geraniums, nicotiana for the scent, maybe some hyacinth or lilies at Easter, even a little tree spreading up to the ceiling. Lil would insist on hostas, I'm sure. Nadine would be out of here, and I don't blame her, but we'd replace her with some butterflies. The crickets that slip in through the front door when fall first comes around would have somewhere to go. We wouldn't have to worry about setting up an artificial Christmas tree or flowers for the altar!
Or again, imagine a baptismal pool right at the heart of the sanctuary, with stairs leading down and space for a full immersion. What if it were fed by a natural spring, lined with rocks, and you could feel the cold, clear waters of salvation itself anytime you wanted to reach out and dip your hand in?
We had not quite a pool like this in a Mennonite church I used to hang out with. One of the kids—a young person!—created an indoor pond for a Boy Scout project. There were a few plants in it, and a little waterfall. Tea lights floated in the water. It was wonderful.
Perhaps that's the point. I am not seriously suggesting any of these things for our church. It's bad enough we moved the pews. But sometimes it's useful to look at things from a different angle, to remind ourselves that we are not locked into the way things are presently, to try to reclaim the sense of wonder and awe that we lose so often in the practice of our faith. It's worth it alone to think about receiving communion in an indoor pasture beside the still waters of a pool, or to imagine how invested our kids might be in a space they helped to nurture on behalf of the community.
Even a little imagination is healing. Much like Bartimaeus, it allows us new sight. To dream of a way for our children and grandchildren to find wonder in church is healing as well. It is a balm to our soul. It makes our community one step closer to being whole again in that it gives a vision of all the sons and daughters of the church drawn back to the mystery and promise of God-given life.
To imagine a church inviting nature into its midst is wholeness again because it begins to restore to us all the use of our senses in worship, praising, and giving thanks to our God. We can smell the flowers, touch the waters, taste the bread, hear the word, see one another. It is healing, last, to reconnect ourselves to the creation of which we are part. From ashes (or dirt) we come, and to dirt we will return someday. We are at home in nature, and to that home God calls us, no less than the children of Israel.
To answer the question I began with, then: how we get the young people in here is to offer them the gift of healing, and we offer them the gift of healing by calling them home to the inexhaustible depths of experiencing God's love given in earth and water and spirit. You don't have to try any of my crazy ideas about how that might be done, but it is worth dreaming a little dream about how God might be calling you to do it. Amen.