Friday, January 29, 2010

The Book of Eli - where to find hope when all is gone

Yesterday I went to see The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington, a post-apocalyptic story in the vein of Mad Max, The Postman, Red Dawn, etc. where humanity has been de-civilized back into barbarism after a nuclear (or semi-nuclear) holocaust.

Denzel Washington has never been shy of playing a warrior who fights evil so ruthlessly, so terribly that even the bad guys are scared. He cloaks himself in a patient weariness whenever a cock-sure villain taunts or tempts him - and then, like so many 'I-didn't-start-this-but-I'll-end-it' heroes, he takes out a cadre of thugs in less than 60 seconds. [See trailer]

In interviews, Denzel confesses to having NO martial arts skills and is simply following Jeff Imada's great fight choreography. I think Denzel is being a bit self-deprecating. The man clearly knows how to move.

In real life, Denzel regularly attends church with his wife and, so I hear, is quite generous in his charitable giving. He seems to be a fairly constant believer. Though I may question the wisdom of a Christian doing so many violent movies, I have always noted he is an actor, and often has a great quality of paternal wisdom in his characters. "You don't want to to do that..." is one of his signature lines with a plea to reason, to peace.

Now The Book of Eli is about a man who is on a journey to deliver this last copy of a once well-respected book a 'place in the West' where it will be safe.

On the way, he runs into another man, a mayor of a small 'town' who wants The Book so he can control the weak and foolsih minds of this world!" Being as old as our hero, Eli, he remembers in the 'Before-Time' how much power there was in The Book to rule men. With those words, he could control MILLIONS!

Now by this point, you've probably figured out the book is not Green Eggs and Ham.


Of course, it is the Holy Bible. What else could be so valuable to both believers and non-believers alike? As ancient literaure it is unsurpassed in its beauty and power. As divinely inspired writings, it supports the faith of over a billion humans.

So what did I make of this movie about a bloody seasoned warrior bringing death to villains and hope for the future through the "word of God?"

I loved every minute of it. I watched the Philistines and Goliaths fall again. I saw sight given to the blind and hope given for the hopeless. I saw the dead rise in victory and the prisoners [their former home in fact] set other captives free.

Let me caution you on this, so you and I will understand each other, even as I praise this film with so much violence.

God hates evil. He deals with it as He sees fit. Intuitively we understand when there is some hope for redemption, when mercy is a good thing to offer and when it is not. Ths movie paints the wicked as desperate, barbarous and pleased with cruelty. Others are 'doing what they must to survive' - Eli spends no time judging others or arguing what they should be doing.

But when the evil is absolutely apparent by action, he answers definitively. He takes no pleasure in doing it; he just eliminates all evil in his sight.

If you see the movie, you will see what I mean - and what factors limit that choice.

As Christians, we are to follow Jesus. Sure, like Eli, we will run across those who want what we have and will hate us for having it. We need not be afraid.

As Eli quotes Psalm 23 to the young girl who had followed him, she remarks "That's beautiful. Did you write that?"

"Yes I did," he says solemnly before grinning. "No," he confesses. "No - that was written long before you and I were ever born."

Yes it was. And if you want to know where you should place your faith and trust, I should be a fool to tell you of any place besides the True and Living God.

If you obey Him, you will find how tenderly He will care for you, as David, a fearless warrior king, did when he wrote the following:

Psalm 23 (NKJV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.

3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD



p.s. Ignore the critics. Go see The Book of Eli.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Do You Believe in a 'No-Win' Scenario?

I've been watching "The American Experience" on PBS, and its been doing biographies of American Presidents through the 20th century: the choices they have made in very difficult, almost impossible times. Federal jobs and support of arts to bolster the economy (FDR's "New Deal"), the development and use of the atomic bomb, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, etc.

The consequences of those decisions linger on, and it causes some detractors to question the wisdom and reasoning of those who made them.

I've also been re-watching Star Trek [2009] with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. In it, as all Trekkers know, Kirk 'changes the conditions' of a test in order to beat the 'no-win' scenario presented by the Kobayashi-Maru simulation.

In other words, he cheats. He does it because he feels the test itself is a cheat; there is no way to win. What purpose does it serve to put any cadet through that scenario, he asks?

Quinto/Spock's response is that the captain of a starship must experience fear and face it, in order to do his job of leading his crew. He's got to accept his limitations, while facing certain death.

Now, I don't know if I fully agree with that [or maybe with the way it is tested - how terrified can you get in a simulator, I would ask], but I can understand its logic.

You want your captains to NOT believe themselves invincible and thus lose compassion, caution, and common sense. Ship's captains on terra firma, like many medical doctors, often believe themselves to be infallable due to their superior abilities and knowledge. If they become a "captain" and keep a balanced heart and mind is rare bird indeed (whether it is being the leader of a fictional starship, a hospital wing, a Navy vessel, a large corporation or mega-church.) A lot of people will depend on your decisions and if you act from fear, you will not serve their best interests.

In watching these bios of American Presidents, you saw that the very things that drove them to be elected often came back to bite them. They did some good; they did some bad. They made decisions for some forty years out of fear of fascism and communism.

I cannot see any way we would NOT have dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. Our troops were getting ready to fight from island to island, and it was going to be ugly. Fair warnings were given on both occasions - something NEVER done before in war time, AFAIK.

Japan surrendered under threat of extinction by nuclear holocaust. We helped rebuild it. Our enemy became our ally even as our ally, the Soviet Union, became our enemy.

Then came Korea and Vietnam. In both cases, what it would take to win was too enticing, too horrifying - dropping a nuclear bomb. Such extreme action very well could've started a third World War. Even today, we are still in a 'cease-fire' with North Korea; we are not at peace.

I used to have a button that said "If you are willing to die, you can do anything."

I think - no, scratch that - I believe there is no such thing as a No-Win Scenario - its just that the price to win is too high for most of us to pay.

Leaders enter into great depression when they see the cost of 'being right.'

You see, we have this mistaken idea if we 'get it right' and perform admirably, there will be no suffering. The scenario will work itself out painlessly.

But the evil that causes undue suffering is in this world and quite active. And to fight it, you have to be willing to go FURTHER than 'the other guy.'

Let me end by showing how Jesus handled His 'No-Win' scenario: he faced it dead-on and got the job done.

Matthew 26:36-45
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."

He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

I think Jesus shows his humanity so very well here - like us, He doesn't want to die - much less be brutally murdered - BUT HE WIPES THE TEARS FROM HIS EYES AND GOES FORTH ANYWAY TO GET THE JOB DONE!

Personally, I wish Lyndon Johnson had concerned himself more with what was right than what was expedient. I wish he'd pulled us out of Vietnam BEFORE he announced he would not run for the Presidency again.

Vietnam was his - and America's - 'No-Win' scenario. We could not win freedom for the South Vietnamese; we could not fight the war for them.

The best thing to come out of Vietnam, I am afraid, is/was humilation for America. Unfortunately, that humiliation was unjustly cast upon its fighting men and women. Yet there followed a good result as a backlash from that: men and women in uniform are today honored coming and going. We've repented of shooting the messengers; the way our vets were treated was abominable. Today they get due respect.

And when one thinks of how African-Americans were treated during the Civil Rights movement, there is even more shame. Now we have a black President. Johnson would have been proud of that.

So the question remains: do you believe in a 'No-Win' Scenario?

Well, in one way I guess I do. If the 'win' is limited to immediate victory. You just cannot fight and win in all circumstances, folks!

But I do NOT believe in the 'No-Benefit' Scenario. There is more to life than 'winning' - sometimes the 'win' comes from being wise enough to lose, to let go of control.

To say "I am not God; I cannot fix this."

In Christianity, we have this wonderful conundrum: Christ died to win us all back to the Father. He even bids us to die: "If anyone wishes to save his life, he must lose it! For whoever wishes to save his life (in this world) will lose it, but whoever loses his life (for My sake) will find it!"

Folks, if you can get over your pride and die to self, you can reap great rewards.

If you can't, you spend the rest of your life trying to justify yourself.

Jesus beat the 'No-Win' scenario by dying. On the third day God raised him back to life, justifying him as sinless.

In Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan, where we were first introduced to the Kobyashi-Maru test, it is Spock who dies to save his ship, his crew, his friends.

"I never took the Kobayashi-Maru. What do you think of my solution?"

Whether Leonard Nimoy [who's Jewish, BTW] realized it or not, Spock's Christ-likeness was not complete until ST:III until Spock came back from the dead.

Then it is spot-on.

Like Kirk, we all want to cheat.

But Spock had the right answer. You win the 'No-Win' scenario by dying to self.

Its something your opponent cannot expect and cannot defeat, because it is your choice, not his.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Hurting Haiti - A Christian Response Is Needed

Haiti is devastated, destroyed, demolished. Rubble is everywhere and the death toll is in the tens of thousands. As I write, thousands of professionals and concerned volunteers are pouring into the country to help. Death is everywhere.

Pat Robertson made a comment that "Haiti is cursed" referring to its spiritual oppression, being classically identified with voodoo and other witchcraft. He also made some remarks that show some compassion for the dual victims of same - spiritual victims and physical victims of this massive earthquake.

It was, once again, poorly received, and I don't blame anyone for taking offense. I don't think Robertson utterly wrong [about the evil influences] but rather tactless.

Haiti has suffered much under corruption and evil in the hearts and minds of its leaders for decades. It is a frail, abused child, warped and devastated by those who should be caring for it but have been raping it of its natural splendor. That IS NOT the legitimate role of the government folks.

The Dominican Republic [photo, right side] resides in verdant glory as its neighbor, providing a stark contrast: they have the same island, the same opportunities, but even from satellite photos one can see how much worse Haiti was even BEFORE this earthquake.

If I were on my old debate forum, I suspect some aggressor would ask the foolish question if I thought God was punishing Haiti.

I would have to reply: "Well, if He is, He sure is sending a lot of His kids to comfort them in their affliction, don't you think?"

Hurricane Katrina was a disaster for the city of New Orleans - but that was because the levees broke and flooded the city. And that happened because greedy men did NOT listen to the warnings given them.

When God judged a nation in the Old Testament, we see that He would send a prophet to warn ahead of time. The message was simple: "Repent! God is coming to judge!"

And it was sent to POWERFUL nations, or city-states, so very full of themselves and their 'unstoppable might': Nineveh, Sodom and Gommorah, Egypt, Israel, Assyria, etc. not small messed-up countries.

Listen to John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus Christ, preaching what repentance means. Pay attention to what he wants each person to do:

Luke 3:7-14
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.

John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."

Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"

"Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?"

He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay."

In other words, John told everyone: be generous and stop being so damnably narcisistic. Get some compassion for the other guy. If you have authority, do not use it to abuse.

Again: he told the two most well-known and hated employees of the Roman government: stop ripping people off! [But he never told them to quit their jobs. Just to do them right.]

He told the people: you have enough! Give the excess away!

This is the repentance we must practice in America. We must repent of our greed and callousness. We have so much - and thank God we are giving a lot of it away - we don't need help; we need to help.

Did Haiti get itself set up for such a disaster by unwise choices, false gods, wicked practices? Even the most kind and generous must admit it's not their first choice on the Carribbean itinerary. [OK, some joker will argue, but when I say 'Haiti' if the first word that comes to YOUR mind is not 'voodoo!' you are a rare bird indeed.]

But when someone is lying on their deathbed with cancer, it is a FOOL who thinks it is apropriate to say 'See? I told you you should've stopped smoking!"

Haiti was the devil's playground; it was ripe for a disaster.

The disaster has come.

Therefore, now is the time for all who call on Christ's name to aid them, to show His love and to rescue as many as they can from darkness - both spiritually and emotionally as well as physically.

I suspect the country being judged is US, not Haiti.

God loves Haiti. And now is the best time to show her she can trust Him.

Nothing gets rid of false idols like the Real God showing up.

Especially through His children.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Uncle Nino and Jim Harrell - A Life Well Lived

Go to Joe's site and buy a copy!I was at a Christmas party with my 'Sunday School' class when I overheard David Johnson our semi-regular teacher praise a small film made in Chicago with Joe Mantenga called Uncle Nino.

Its the story of a harrassed suburban family who gets a visit by their wise old great uncle from Italy. Its family friendly, but the message is, like all such films, timeless. Uncle Nino disrupts their lives by coming when they did not expect him - well, he DID write them, but they did not read his letters, letting them get shuffled off to the side.

He barely speaks English, but he knows unhappiness when he sees it. He does not interfere, but does little things that reveal his heart - and the foolishness of their lifestyle. He makes pizza from scratch. He plays his violin - at seven in the morning in the front yard, of course. He watches the son mow the grass and joins him in his disdain of the chore as he picks up a few clippings: "Feh! What this? You can't eat - what good is it?"

When he gets permisison from his nephew to plant a garden - flowers, vines, etc. - guess what part of the property he puts it?

Yep. The entire front lawn is tilled. THAT doesn't go over too well - and later, you see it IS beautiful, making their house the most famous on the block.

Lovely film. Dave said he couldn't get a copy of it anywhere - some legal issue was stopping it. Well, at Christmastime I happened to find that it WAS out and being produced - mere days after overhearing him. I called his wife. I got her the copy and brother, was he surprised on Christmas morning! Watched it immediately with his kids and they all loved it.

I mention this because Dave is also experiencing what is important in life. Its not financial success, having a beautiful wife and a good job, living in the suburbs - frankly, he's got that. But he has a good friend who also has that - and that friend has been dying from ALS for five years.

That friend is on a link to the right - Jim Harrell.

Jim and Dave had a weird competitive "lets-see-if-I-can-one-up-this-guy" friendship for YEARS. They are neighbors, and they're professionals in business. They both came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord later in life after a lot of experiences in the world. Dave is a native New Yorker who's heydey was in the 70's. That says it all, IMNSHO. ;)

Jim's story is a story of a well-liked, respectable businessman who was starting yet another lucrative venture when he was given a death sentence. He had the mildest form of ALS and had to live with a respirator the last two years of his life.

But because of this diagnosis, he realized he had not been living as fully as he could for the Lord. So he began telling men about God and their need to seek Him before it was too late. He shared his personal journey, very articualtely and graciously, and men would see his integrity and repent. I cannot help but think how many men wanted to have EXACTLY what Jim Harrell had - a picture-perfect life - and to hear him say "My only hope is in Jesus Christ, now." must have been mind-blowing.

When disaster strikes whehter personally or publicly - I am thinking of the earthquake in Haiti with tens of thousands dead - we must consider where we humans will get our hope.

Is this all there is? Is my life about having this or that thing - or is it about living it, living it to the full, living it for the One Who gave me life?

Dave Johnson loved Uncle Nino because that character showed an American family how to live. He also had a dear friend who showed him as well. Life cannot be about having things, because at death it is all taken away. I cannot believe death always trumps. Thankfully Jesus affirms it does not and tells us what we SHOULD do with what we have.

Hear what Jesus said about the best use of our time, talents and treasure:

Luke 16:9-13
"I tell you, use the riches of this world to help others. In that way, you will make friends for yourselves. Then when your riches are gone, you will be welcomed into your eternal home in heaven.

"Suppose you can be trusted with very little. Then you can be trusted with a lot. But suppose you are not honest with very little. Then you will not be honest with a lot.

"Suppose you have not been worthy of trust in handling worldly wealth. Then who will trust you with true riches? Suppose you have not been worthy of trust in handling someone else's property. Then who will give you property of your own?

"No servant can serve two masters at the same time. He will hate one of them and love the other. Or he will be faithful to one and dislike the other. You can't serve God and Money at the same time."

"You can't take it with you." goes the old saying. What I have discovered - and what our Lord reveals - is that money or talents or skills do not exist to serve you and your desires but rather to serve others and by so doing, you can make an eternal deposit.

Our lives are brief. Our opportunities to give happen one day at a time.

Don't count on catching up later; later may not happen.

James Harrell didn't, thank God.

On Friday, January 8, 2010, Dave's friend - and a friend to many - James Harrell passed away.

I have no doubt of the joy of his homecoming.

"Well done, good and faithful servant!"


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Green Lantern: First Flight - Can a rookie get it right?

I just got my latest "late" Christmas present from Green Lantern: First Flight.

Now DC Comics has a sort of hit-or-miss on its animated features, but more often than not they are entertaining.

I gotta say, even with them altering a bit of GL canon, they captured the essence and wonder and drama of Hal Jordan, test pilot becoming a Green Lantern, an intergalactic policeman patrolling space sector 2814, under the watchful eyes of the Guardians of Oa.

The wise choices Geoff Johns, writer of the current Green Lantern comics and Peter Tomasi, writer of the Green Lantern Corps, have made are picked up in this re-imagining of Hal Jordan's origin. Not all of them, but just enough to make this an enjoyable re-telling.

Sinestro, Hal's once nearly laughable villain has become the cunning and commanding mentor for the rookie, a strong-willed man of vision who is corrupted by wanting to take control FROM his superiors and become a force for order in this chaotic universe. Sinestro's frustration as an intergalactic cop "always picking up the trash" [i.e. the criminals], when they actually have the power to re-order the universe with their rings is a little too understandable, I'm afraid.

The writer of the screenplay did a fine job of making this a parable of "rookie cop enters into life of senior officer who's lost his vision." Years ago, I read an article in Playboy magazine while I was working overnight at the Quick Stop Food Store #2 on Stateline Rd. It was their last stapled issue and it featured Madonna - and folks, I didn't care. That article still reverberates in my mind.

In it a police officer describes his job: "You start off thinking you are going to change the world, cocky and sure as hell of yourself." After a while you realize what you are: "the garbage collector of humanity."

"Everybody lies to you," revealed another. "Everyone. You start to get a real poor view of human beings and it affects all your relationships."

Jump to 1:26 to see Sinestro's POV.

The message in Green Lantern: First Flight is encouraging and also cautionary. Years of experiences in service may become years of resentment, and what makes a hero is NOT whether or not he can control everything, but how he reacts to unfair and unjust forces. Will YOU be good when no one else is?

Like a human version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Hal Jordan, being a 'human from Earth' a planet known for its atrocities, is considered unsuitable for inclusion in the Green Lantern Corps. But even without the ring, Hal shows his heroism, his bravery, his compassion and his willingness to do what it takes to see goodness win.

Not simply order or law. Goodness. Mercy and compassion. That stuff.

Our laws must bring forth what is good, or they are nothing more than control mechanisms used by bullies.

And the heart-breaking thing is, when good people see something bad happening, we naturally want to take control and fix it. We don't even want the bad thing to happen. Well, that doesn't teach anyone, folks, i fno one can make an error or go the wrong way. Parents have to let kids learn the benefits of obedience and consequences of not obeying. They have to grow in wisdom.

What prevented World War III in the 20th century must at least be attributed in part to the suffering of World War II. What is making young girls reject legalized abortion more and more is, I believe in part, the horror stories of women who have had legal abortions - and cannot forget the pain or shame.

I guess what I am saying is we can trust that the laws God handed down are good, and that authority if rightly held and enforced is designed to protect and preserve us. But if you disagree, you can disobey.

But I wouldn't count on it working out too well.

Every rebel or dictator, large or small, public or private, I have ever known has come to a bad end. Their evil reigned for a season, and then it was gone.

It sure was nice of DC Comics to remind me of that biblical truth.

So don't lose heart when it seems all has been lost. It may just be God granting them their request - for a season.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Luca Era Gay - "and now he's together with her"

Italian artist Povia sings 'Luca Era Gay'In July 2009 I attended the "Make Us One" Exodus International Freedom Conference at Wheaton College. It was a conference for men and women, friends and families of those who have entered a homosexual lifestyle.

I stood side-by-side with men and women who had previously defined themselves by their sexual attraction and now defined themselves by what God's Word declares. That is, they left the gay or lesbian lifestyle with great help from God and were walking in the freedom to chose whom they would be.

One speaker shared the very heart of this conference: when asked if he considered himself "ex-gay" he replied "No. I consider myself a son of God."

We are made new in Christ -and that means heterosexual sinners leave behind what they used to do and homosexual sinners leave behind what they used to do.

They leave it at the cross of Christ.

While I never had to struggle very hard with 'same-sex attraction', I have experienced the shame of a lack of masculine identity - and I had some very close friends who did enter into a gay lifestyle. I watched a co-worker die of AIDs, and I found out my high school buddy had a near-brush with suicide due to a break up with his lover and some bad meds.

The horrific alienation that happens when someone 'outs' is soul-destroying for most men and women. Sadly, they have this core desire [love] that is not being met and then when they seek to meet it - in a venue commonly accepted by the world - i.e. sexual love - they often find themselves even further disenfranchised.

There is pain and anger and unmet needs. The solution is to meet the needs legitimately in love and it will need a nearly unconditional love at that. But fallen humans cannot provide that. A sexual partner cannot fill the soul - but rather give some temporary relief. I speak now from my sorry past as a heterosexual.

The answer for both homo and hetero is the same: Jesus Christ, lover of our souls.

I have been called a homo in High School - and some buds thought I might be gay like they were - but the fact was I was a Momma's boy - a bit too close to her, trying to meet her emotional needs while my dad was at work on the road.

My older brother was abusive at my lack of 'manliness.' The less said about him, the better.

So I got very close to that community with a friend who was a transsexual and a bi-sexual ex-wife - and now, ironically, I find myself on the 'other side', vilified by accepting God's Word as true: homosexuality is a sin.

But so is fornication
. So what stopped me from engaging in my sin? Jesus. And a decision that my desires for women were NOT going to overcome my obedience to God.

Did I do it perfectly the moment Christ was revealed to me? Absolutely not.

Did I learn to walk carefully and circumspectly once I realized the pain I was causing?

Yes. It took some time and a massive loss, but yes.

So there is hope for anyone who wishes to be a Christ-follower. It takes receiving grace and asking for help. It takes some real soul-searching as to Who will we trust.

The following video was shown at this conference, a song about a homosexual man who was now with woman. I was blown away by this Italian artist and what he sang so profoundly about our sexual nature - beyond religious rituals and scientific analysis he saw that the problem was in his heart.

It's in Italian, so I chose this smaller version because it has English subtitles. (I'm sure it is even more stunning for those who can understand Italian and its nuances.)

Please watch and consider "Luca Era Gay":

If you want to know more about how to be a Christ-follower yet struggle with same-sex attraction, please go to Sy Rogers site on the right. His story is simply amazing.

And may God bless you my dear brothers and sisters. We are one, and I pray God's grace on you.