RSS Feed

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cathedrals, Deviled Eggs, and Unity

I have been pondering the nature of unity of late.  From the new president’s inauguration speech, to the pleas of the National Cathedral when they invited a conservative evangelical to use their pulpit, unity is the new trend.  We want it very badly. (It has crossed my mind that what we actually want is boredom, and a break from the constant existential crisis, but I digress.)

This makes sense—unity has long been one of the particular loves of the Anglican world.  I remember being told in confirmation class, as a teenager, how we were the only American Protestant church that didn’t divide during the Civil War, and wasn’t that lovely?  Because we believed in maintaining unity so much!  This went into the file of the Elizabethan Settlement, and the utility of the prayer book—both things which allowed for people to believe whatever they wanted, so long as we could all stay together, because staying together was Most Important.  So it likewise makes sense that in this time of increased division and tension, some in the church would see it as their duty to facilitate this unification.  Let’s bring people together!  We are good at that.  We are the party-planners of the Christian World!  EVERYONE INTO A ROOM, AND FIND THE DEVILED EGGS.

But, if you will recall, gentle reader, then came 2003, but really, 2006—and the limits of staying together were illustrated.  It became apparent that we could not, in fact, stay together at this particular party when the presiding bishop was a girl, or a bishop in New England married another man.  What 250 years had not done to us, some cooties managed to do, and the church split. 

And yet, there was that the insistence again—that this was a horrible tragedy because  our goal was to maintain unity.  Everyone should be together at our party!  And unity, as it played out, appeared to be making sure everyone at this party stayed put, and did so happily.  So it was important to appease everyone here.  Regardless of the cost.  Maybe some barring of the doors.  But this is our party, and Jesus says you can’t leave.  

If we want to get dogmatic about it, the emphasis on church unity is scriptural.  Jesus prays, in John’s gospel, that “they may be one, as you and I are one”, and so from that, the church has taken our instruction.  See?  We should stick together!  

What has become apparent to me, however, is how quickly unity transforms from a means into an end.  When Jesus is praying, he is asking God that his followers to come may be united in their proclamation of the Gospel, so that their witness isn’t diluted.  He’s not merely praying that God would have them all stick together forever….just because.  Unity is a means to an end.

We tend to forget when we envision unity, that Christ doesn’t call us to unify around ourselves. We’re not the thing the church is meant to point to.  Who cares if we manage to create an organization where everyone gets along always, and no one dissents?  That’s not a church; that’s a cult.  (Or the mob.  Either way—call the authorities because you have a problem.). What we are called to do is come together around Jesus’ good news—and that necessarily entails making people mad.  Often people inside the church.  

Back in ye olden days of 2003/2006 when the splits were happening, we spent a lot of time worrying about the people we were losing.  And we lost a fair number!  Buildings and real estate, and angry parishioners.  Hearts were broken.  It was rough.  People celebrated Ash Wednesday in August.  The party broke up, and there was lots of crying, and it was awful.  

  But what we didn’t talk about enough was that other people came.  

Some people left, but God sent us others, who for the first time could believe in a God of love because of our welcome.  God sent us people who needed the gospel we were beginning to gingerly understand.  God sent us people who had been longing to hear about how all people were beloved of God, and were necessary to the salvation of creation.  God sent us so many amazing people, because we—for a moment!—were beginning to head towards the gospel.  

In all of our Episcopal cultural emphasis that Church-is-a-party-everyone-should-stay! We forget that this world is not a party for a great many people.  This world is a horror show for a lot of people.  For a lot of people the world tells them that they are worthless, that they are despised and wrong, and that God is out to get them.  For many—In fact, I’m going to say, most—people, life is not a choice of parties to attend, it is a series of traps to avoid. A series of hurdles to overcome.  For those people? They don’t need to know that Mary Sue is willing to sit next to them under protest, because Party Manners.  They need to know that this is a place that fully and firmly offers them safety and salvation in the name of Christ, and will work with them to make the rest of creation that way, too.  

For people of color, for LGBTQ+ folks, for women called into leadership (and/or just called to be very opinionated), we do not need another party, full of smiles that may or may not be fake, and passed appetizers that may or may not be leftovers, while the real good stuff gets eaten by the important guests.  We need a church.  We need a church that comes together around the gospel, not around an agreement about how nice to be to its members, and how nice they should be to each other.  We need a church that proclaims us as beloved of God, that celebrates what we bring, that honors us in safety and that stands with us in solidarity against a world that frequently would leave us for dead.  

The besetting sin of the church is not disunity—the besetting sin of the church is our trading this party we like to pass off as church for the fullness of the gospel.  We aren’t called to offer people a party—we are called to offer people salvation in the name of Christ.  We are called to offer them life abundant, and all too often, we hand them a stale sandwich, and tell them to be nice, because they’re lucky they got invited here at all.  

It makes no sense to me to unify as a church.  It makes no sense to me to unify for the sake of this party.  It only makes sense to me if we are unifying around the gospel as we understand it, having discerned and listened together for Christ’s call to us, and having borne witness to the work the Spirit is doing in our midst.  We aren’t throwing a party—we are throwing a new world, and Christ calls us to it.

Insert Shel Silverstein Quote here

So, it’s been a while.

But clearly, some things (and by things, I mean attempted coups) have happened, and so I figure a written record of the sermon for today might be appropriate.

Over the last few days, as I’ve been working on this sermon, I’ve been joking with my husband over how to preach it. He told me, in seriousness, to power down my rage a bit. I asked if that meant I should not begin the sermon with a chipper story about how I have long had a fascination with stories about the Resistance during WW2? “Yeah,” says my smart husband, “Try not to have Nazis all the way through. Start with a nice poem or something.”

I didn’t manage to work in a poem, despite my efforts, but here you go.

Rev. Megan L. Castellan

January 10, 2021

Baptism of Christ/There was an armed Insurrection

Mark 1:4-11

In a normal year, we would have baptisms today.  

In a normal year, we would be cheerfully and joyously welcoming new ones into our community, and waiting to see if the babies cried, and remembering that time Kang read his own baptismal prayers, and wiping away our own happy tears as we renewed our own promises to live in the reign of God.  

In a normal year.

But, for a long time now, nothing has been normal.  And this week, we entered a new level of Not Normal.

And so, what would have been a joyous occasion where we gather together to celebrate, feels in many ways like another surreal moment, as we come together virtually, continuing to process what happened in our country’s common life on Wednesday.  

Like I said, usually, today we celebrate baptisms, and the reason we do that is because today the church recalls the baptism of Jesus.  When Jesus begins his earthly ministry by being baptized in the Jordan River by his cousin John the Baptist.  And he comes up out of the water, and God says, loud as you please, You are my son, with you I am well-pleased.  

These are words and actions that we echo, each time we baptize a new member.  We pour water over their head, and we proclaim that we recognize in them a beloved child of God, with whom God is well-pleased.  You are sealed with the Holy Spirit in baptism, and marked as Christ’s own forever.  We acknowledge publicly with liturgical actions what has always been true, but what they and their sponsors are now taking on as a chosen identity.  They are a beloved and cherished Child of God.  Period.

When we renew our baptismal promises, we acknowledge that identity and how it plays out, both in our inner lives, and in our outer lives.  We promise to continue in the breaking of bread and the prayers.  We promise to repent when we fall into sin.  We promise to seek and serve Christ within all people.  We promise to work for justice and peace.  And when we promise to resist evil, we promise to resist anything that hurts and destroys the children of God.  

Baptism, where we affirm our identity as children of God, also means that we step into a way of life that recognizes every other human being as also being a beloved child of God.  Every other person as being cherished and valued as we are.  And out of this core commitment, we find the guiding light of everything else we do.

Setting aside all the partisan talking points about the events of Wednesday, we as Christians need to see it through the eyes of our baptism. We need to stand squarely in the promises that were made on our behalf and that we reaffirmed, that we and every other person is a beloved child of God—because one of the implications of that baptismal way of life is that every person is entitled to their say.  Every person is entitled to their voice, and to that voice being heard.  

What we saw Wednesday just how threatening that idea is to many people.  There is an element in our country, in our world that—instead of deriving their identity from knowing they are profoundly loved—derive it from believing that they can only be loved if someone else is not.  They can only be powerful if someone else is not.

That fundamental interior insecurity is how racism festers, breeds and grows.  It’s how homophobia spreads.  It’s how sexism thrives, it’s how transphobia is fostered.  That persistent belief that I can only be valued if people different from me are not.  I can only be special if people different from me are silenced.  And if people who are different from me begin to speak and prosper, then that threatens, not only what I have, but my very identity.

Our national history is story after story of progress made by people of color, and then the panicked few wresting back control through violence.  The coup in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898.  The end of Radical Reconstruction and the start of Jim Crow across the South through the Hayes-Tilden commission.  Tulsa.  Wounded Knee in the 1970s.  On and on and on.

All because for so many people, their identity is rooted not in the confidence of God’s unbounded love of them and all humanity, but in how much better they must be than others.  And they will do literally anything to prevent that being threatened.

What we saw on Wednesday was not just an armed insurrection against our lawful government; it was a dramatic demonstration of how evil and destructive the lie of white supremacy is.  It acted out on live television how deadly it is to root your sense of self in the illusion that your worth is only measured in how much better you are than someone else.  When we talk about renouncing evil, renouncing the powers of death—that, those scenes of chaos on Wednesday?  That’s part of what we’re talking about.

And I want to be very, very clear—the people who invaded our Capitol are still beloved of God.  They are entranced with lies that tell them that this is only true if others aren’t, they follow politicians who encouraged them in these lies, and they have made evil decisions with deadly consequences.  But even all of that does not erase the truth of their identity—or the truth that those black and brown people, the women, the LGBTQ folks and the others they wanted to silence are ALSO deeply beloved of God, just as they are.  And that this love takes nothing away from them.  And so yet another tragedy of Wednesday is that we watched angry, deluded people hurl themselves into the abyss of violence, threaten their fellow beings, all for a lie.  Not just a lie about politics, not just a lie about votes, but a lie about existence.

And I want to be very clear about something else—those invaders may have claimed the name of Jesus, there may have been pastors in that crowd, they may have waved flags with crosses, and they may have prayed real hard, but I want to say loud and plainly that God does not now, nor does God ever call for the destruction of any his children.  Our common life is meant to enable our abundant life, in God’s kingdom, and so God willing, there will be accountability, consequences, and hopefully true repentance from those involved in Wednesday, so that we can move forward with every voice counted in our system of government.  But mark my words—if anyone tells you that what Jesus wants us to do is launch an assault on our fellow human beings, they are lying. They are not abiding in the ultimate truth of God’s love for all of us.   

And if our faith is about anything, our faith is about that love—that way of love as our Presiding Bishop tells us again and again.  A love of God cast over us so profound that it frees us to love ourselves.  A love so strong that it saves us thinking we should hurt our fellow humans to find our identity.  A love so powerful that no insecurity, no evil, no lie and not even death itself can stand against it.  If we hold onto that love, if we abide in that love, we are going to be able to see our way out of this.  If we root ourselves in God’s resounding love for us, if we fix ourselves in God’s echoing love for all humanity, if we insist that all we do extends from that central fact— then we are going to be able to withstand the lies we are fed, we can reform our imperfect nation, we can help God to renew the face of this earth.

Because that love that we recognize at baptism, that we promise to reflect in the rest of our lives, is the mightiest thing in all creation.  

Apart Together–Ascension 2020

Rev. Megan L. Castellan

May 24, 2020

Easter 7, Year A

Acts 1

In the years when I was in college ministry, the Ascension readings usually coincided with the end of the academic term.  It worked quite nicely; I could talk about Jesus departing alongside graduation, as a metaphor for the seasons of life.  Jesus ascends like the graduates departed—and the mingled feelings of loss and pride worked pretty well together, I thought.  

You can sort of see Jesus’ mother probably waved proudly at her son as he rose into the sky, and marveled at how big he’d gotten, all ascending into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. 

So this strange week or so between Ascension and Pentecost had a place then—this stretch of time when Jesus has gone, the Holy Spirit is promised, but…isn’t here yet.  And meanwhile, there’s just a lot of waiting.  And missing.  

This year, of course, everything feels different.  We both haven’t had graduations and we had.  We both haven’t marked the end of the academic school year and we have.  We are both still together as a worshipping community, and we are apart.  

And that dichotomy, ironically, is precisely what the Ascension is describing.  As Jesus leaves his friends, there on that mountain (which is really more like a hill) in Jerusalem, he promises them that he will be with them always, right as he leaves.  And then he goes.

The disciples are understandably perturbed.  And in Luke’s retelling, we get helpful/irritated angels appearing to tell them to knock off their confusion and get on with their jobs.  But they can be forgiven, I think, for being so bumfuzzeled.  After all, Jesus just got through promising to always be there with them, before he literally does the opposite.  

It takes them a while to suss out what’s going on.  The church comes to know that Jesus is now present in the church in a new way—unbounded by space or time, by virtue of his ascension.  Jesus is as present with me, in my house now as I speak to you, as he is with you as you listen to me.  Jesus is with us whenever we call upon him; whenever we greet each other distantly, whenever we show love to our neighbor, or reach out in care to someone who needs it.  

It’s not the same, of course.  And I think that’s what took the disciples a little while to deal with.  We’ve been learning that too.  Jesus present through the Spirit wasn’t the same as the Jesus they knew before the crucifixion, sitting around the campfire, cracking jokes, and making bread.  Jesus inspiring them and guiding them wasn’t the same as the guy who reassured them on the road, and taught them what to do.  And that change brought some grief with it, because they missed that guy they knew and loved.  And that grief is real.  Even though the Spirit they gained was an amazing gift to them. 

We are learning that too.  Gathered together in this way for church just isn’t the same as church before corona.  We can’t recreate being physically together. It’s different; it sounds different, sometimes the technology works, sometimes it doesn’t, we miss each other badly, I miss hearing your voices.

But with all of that, Christ is still present with us.  And even present in a new way.  The work of the church has never stopped, even as we have been apart.  Indeed, our being apart and at home right now to prevent unintentionally spreading the virus is an act of sacrificial love to our community.  It is part of the essential work of the church.  Giving our building to Loaves and Fishes, so our community can be safely fed—that is part of the work of the church, and that goes on. The classes, the bible studies, the meetings—all of that goes on.  And believe it or not—we have had people from all over the world join us for worship during these weeks, because they come across our videos online.  

By ensuring the safety of our most vulnerable, by forgoing what we want and what we miss in the moment to protect someone else, we are living out what Christ calls us to—we are being the Body of Christ in the world.  We are being most the church now, as we are each apart from each other.  Just as Christ was most with his friends as he left them.  

Theodicy and 1 Peter

Rev. Megan L. Castellan

May 17, 2020

Easter 6, Year A

1 Peter

Well, I think we need to address what on earth Peter is going on about, don’t you?  

There’s a line in the Princess Bride where Wesley says “Life is pain, princess.  Anyone who says any different is selling something.”  Peter seems to be very much of this school of thought here.  And if you aren’t paying careful attention, it’s possible to hear what Peter’s saying here as “suffering is good!  Do it more!”  

So let’s talk about suffering for a bit.  Since, you know, we are in a vast global pandemic, the likes of which none of us have lived through before, which is causing quite a lot of suffering.  

A few things to recall here about Peter’s context:

Firstly, he’s not writing to safe and comfortable folks.  He’s writing to people being hunted, jailed, and killed by their government.  So for them, suffering wasn’t a maybe—it was a given.  The question then was how would they respond to it—and how would they explain their circumstances to others?  Given that the powers of the earth were allied against them, the question for Peter’s community is not “How to avoid persecution”, it was “Since we’re being persecuted, how then should we act?”  

Peter points out that it was better to stick with being ethical and moral when the government is coming after you.  While it’s tempting to give up, declare that nothing matters, and just throw morality to the wind, Peter argues that this is now what Christians are called to do.  Rather, if you hold on to your ethical standards under great duress, you have the chance to shame your persecutors.  (This is, by the way, the same argument that undergirds passive resistance.  It’s the exact same approach Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr took.  Morality in the face of persistent powerful immorality can throw a bright light on the immorality that is hurting you.)  

Anyway.  

That is to say that for the folks Peter was writing to, it wasn’t a question of if they would suffer—it was a question of when.  So Peter isn’t telling them to seek out suffering; he’s advising them on how to live when suffering is a constant.

God doesn’t want us to seek out suffering.  (I’m going to say that again, because this is one of those things that occasionally we “know” but we don’t KNOW on a deep level).  God doesn’t want us to seek out suffering.  Jesus came that we might have life and life abundant.

 And at the same time—we live in a broken world, we are broken people, surrounded by broken people, and the result that inevitably is suffering.   Sometimes more, sometimes less. 

Jesus, in the gospel for today, is comforting his disciples, and telling them that even as he’s about to leave them, he won’t leave them without comfort.  He will send them the Holy Spirit, and he will reassure them, and he will still be with them in this powerful tangible way.  Because, again, Jesus seeing this inevitable suffering, wants to comfort and reassure his friends.  

In a very real way, Christianity never tries answers the question of Why Suffering Exists—or, really, never puts a lot of effort into it.  That’s not the question we set out to answer.  The question Christianity sets out to answer is “Since there is suffering, what then should we do?”

And the answer is:  love. 

While we don’t seek out suffering, I do know that God can transform our unwanted suffering into something that brings forth life.  I know that when we allow God to do that, our suffering becomes, not something wanted, or wished for perhaps, but something constructive.  Something that can lead to newness of life.

God takes the broken pieces of our lives, of our world, and wants to rebuild them, wants to redeem them.  God asks us, even as we find ourselves mired in what feels like unending pain and misery, to help God make these broken shards into something new, something that can be life-giving.  That ongoing work of redemption, of resurrection is what God does.  

God transforms our suffering world by loving it.  God transforms our suffering by accompanying us through it in love.  And when we, in our times of loss, and despair, try intentionally to love ourselves, and love others the way Christ taught us, then God can work to transform our brokenness too.  We work to love others through their broken places and their pain, when we learn to love others so well that we seek to prevent their suffering at all.  When we do all that, then God takes what we endure in this messy world, and works through us to draw us all closer to the kingdom founded and built on Love.

Rev. Megan L. Castellan

May 17, 2020

Easter 6, Year A

1 Peter

Well, I think we need to address what on earth Peter is going on about, don’t you?  

There’s a line in the Princess Bride where Wesley says “Life is pain, princess.  Anyone who says any different is selling something.”  Peter seems to be very much of this school of thought here.  And if you aren’t paying careful attention, it’s possible to hear what Peter’s saying here as “suffering is good!  Do it more!”  

So let’s talk about suffering for a bit.  Since, you know, we are in a vast global pandemic, the likes of which none of us have lived through before, which is causing quite a lot of suffering.  

A few things to recall here about Peter’s context:

Firstly, he’s not writing to safe and comfortable folks.  He’s writing to people being hunted, jailed, and killed by their government.  So for them, suffering wasn’t a maybe—it was a given.  The question then was how would they respond to it—and how would they explain their circumstances to others?  Given that the powers of the earth were allied against them, the question for Peter’s community is not “How to avoid persecution”, it was “Since we’re being persecuted, how then should we act?”  

Peter points out that it was better to stick with being ethical and moral when the government is coming after you.  While it’s tempting to give up, declare that nothing matters, and just throw morality to the wind, Peter argues that this is now what Christians are called to do.  Rather, if you hold on to your ethical standards under great duress, you have the chance to shame your persecutors.  (This is, by the way, the same argument that undergirds passive resistance.  It’s the exact same approach Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr took.  Morality in the face of persistent powerful immorality can throw a bright light on the immorality that is hurting you.)  

Anyway.  

That is to say that for the folks Peter was writing to, it wasn’t a question of if they would suffer—it was a question of when.  So Peter isn’t telling them to seek out suffering; he’s advising them on how to live when suffering is a constant.

God doesn’t want us to seek out suffering.  (I’m going to say that again, because this is one of those things that occasionally we “know” but we don’t KNOW on a deep level).  God doesn’t want us to seek out suffering.  Jesus came that we might have life and life abundant.

 And at the same time—we live in a broken world, we are broken people, surrounded by broken people, and the result that inevitably is suffering.   Sometimes more, sometimes less. 

Jesus, in the gospel for today, is comforting his disciples, and telling them that even as he’s about to leave them, he won’t leave them without comfort.  He will send them the Holy Spirit, and he will reassure them, and he will still be with them in this powerful tangible way.  Because, again, Jesus seeing this inevitable suffering, wants to comfort and reassure his friends.  

In a very real way, Christianity never tries answers the question of Why Suffering Exists—or, really, never puts a lot of effort into it.  That’s not the question we set out to answer.  The question Christianity sets out to answer is “Since there is suffering, what then should we do?”

And the answer is:  love. 

While we don’t seek out suffering, I do know that God can transform our unwanted suffering into something that brings forth life.  I know that when we allow God to do that, our suffering becomes, not something wanted, or wished for perhaps, but something constructive.  Something that can lead to newness of life.

God takes the broken pieces of our lives, of our world, and wants to rebuild them, wants to redeem them.  God asks us, even as we find ourselves mired in what feels like unending pain and misery, to help God make these broken shards into something new, something that can be life-giving.  That ongoing work of redemption, of resurrection is what God does.  

God transforms our suffering world by loving it.  God transforms our suffering by accompanying us through it in love.  And when we, in our times of loss, and despair, try intentionally to love ourselves, and love others the way Christ taught us, then God can work to transform our brokenness too.  We work to love others through their broken places and their pain, when we learn to love others so well that we seek to prevent their suffering at all.  When we do all that, then God takes what we endure in this messy world, and works through us to draw us all closer to the kingdom founded and built on Love.

The promise Christ gives isn’t that suffering will disappear; and it isn’t that following the rules will let you avoid the bad stuff, and it isn’t even that if you seek out enough pain, that God will give you an extra big reward.  It’s that when we inevitably go through awful times, God is with us.  God doesn’t leave us comfortless.  And when we stay faithful to the way of Love that Jesus showed us, God holds our trials and transforms them into something lifegiving.  

Acts in Quarantine

Rev. Megan L. Castellan

May 10, 2020

Easter 5, Year A

Acts

It’s the longstanding tradition of the church to read through the Book of Acts after Easter.  We hit the high points, though not necessarily in order:  the conversion of Saul, Peter’s preaching, Pentecost.  The disciples converting lots of people.  But generally speaking, we move so fast that it can seem like the Acts of the Apostles is just one triumph after another.  

Instead, If you read the book—all of it, it’s much more of a mixed bag, like most everything in the Bible.  The book isn’t even actually intended to be a standalone book—it’s meant to be Part 2 of the Gospel of Luke—picking up immediately where that gospel left off.  Jesus told the disciples before he ascends from the Mount of Olives to spread the good news into all the world, beginning from Jerusalem—and this is how they do it.

Only—they don’t do so well.  For each mass conversion experience, there are about two episodes of the disciples being thrown in jail, or run out of town.  Peter will give a great sermon, and then the local authorities will get frustrated and lock him up.  The disciples share all things in common…except for these two people, who lie to Peter about how much their land sold for, so they are struck down dead for their withholding.  Paul is a great preacher…except for this one time where he went on so long that a man listening to him falls asleep, then falls out of a window and dies.  Mixed bag.

And here again, in our reading for today, the church had been doing pretty well!  In Jerusalem, growing so big that the leaders decided that they could establish a little bit of bureaucracy!  Let’s appoint deacons, because we’re too big to do everything ourselves, and we need someone whose job it is to serve the widows and the poor.  Nice sign of flourishing there—a division of labor!

But then, the city leadership turns on them, and, spurred on by Saul, the new deacons are stoned to death.  Stephen is killed, and—we don’t see it, but the disciples as a whole are thrown out of Jerusalem.  It really seems like the new baby church has failed.

Few things to remember here:

—the enmity of the authorities isn’t because they DON’T believe.  It’s always because they are worried that the disciples bring too much change.  

—this isn’t our church; it’s God’s church.  The church has died many, many times, and each time, God resurrects it, because that’s what God does. 

As we begin to look ahead to what our future may look like, we can feel like those disciples:  OMG, everyone’s dead and we lost Jerusalem, our home, our heart.  How can we worship without the Eucharist?  How can we worship without singing together?

But we as people of faith have done this before.  With God’s help we have figured it out.  We grieve the loss of what we knew and what we loved—because that loss and grief are real.

And we also know that God is bringing us to something different and amazing.  That even here in this wilderness, God is not going to abandon his church, and our work continues.  When the early church was scattered out of Jerusalem, that’s when Saul became Paul.  that’s when they discovered that the Gentiles had the Holy Spirit too.  When the church left Jerusalem, even as they did it with tears and grief and lots of pain, they found a greater mission they could never have imagined, and we are the result.

God’s future for us is right outside our vision.  It is taking shape all around us.  It won’t look like where we’ve been.  We are being called into a wide open space where God awaits.