PSALMS OF ASCENT: Building  Psalm 127

As I mentioned before, my seven-year-old son Ethan, absolutely loves Legos.  This last Christmas we got him this brand-new Ninjago Lego set.  A few hundred pieces.  He was so excited when he opened it up.  It took him a few days of his Christmas break, but he eventually put this whole thing together.  He did it pretty much by himself—not without tears.  He picked it up and came to show us.  He walked into the kitchen where Kelly and I were sitting.  He was holding this perfectly put-together Lego set.  I don’t know what happened, I can’t describe it any other way other than time just seemed to stop.  He said, “Look at my Best Lego Sets!” and at that moment, it slipped out of his hands.  Slow-motion (I kid you not), Kelly and I make eye contact with each other and we’re like, “Oh no!”  It went down on the wood floor and I’ve never seen a Lego set demolished like that one.  It would have been more put together if it had been run over by a truck!!  Kelly’s like, “We’ll help you put it back together.”  I’m like, “You’re on your own buddy!  Lesson learned!”

Ethan’s not alone, is he?  There’s times in life where we work really, really hard on things and then just a moment passes and it slips through our fingers.  It may have happened with you with a job, where you’ve put in the time, you’ve put in the effort and you got passed over for the promotion.  It may have happened to you in your financial situation.  I saw this play out yesterday.  I got the chance to marry Tek Sun, one of our interns from last year. They picked this place in Red Feather, Colorado, at this beautiful ranch.  It was absolutely gorgeous!!  This picture was taken at 4 p.m.  If only they had gotten married at 4 p.m.  They got married at 5 p.m.  At 4:30 there were some clouds that started to billow up.  At 4:45 it looked a bit ominous.  At 5 o’clock it started to drizzle, but I’m one of those guys….no, this is beautiful, we’re doing it here!  We prayed that the skies would part.  We should have been more specific…..the skies DID open up.  We were singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”  We didn’t sing the verse about rain…..during that it started to rain so hard!!  We tried to stick it out.  It didn’t happen!  So months and months and months of planning, where the bride has a picture in her mind of what it’s going to be like and the groom is smart enough to say, “Yeah, I want it like she wants it.”  Ends up (a muddy mess).  It may not have been for your wedding, but my guess is you’ve had moments in life, you’ve had times where you’ve put in the work……you made the right investments at the right time and then the market just turned on you.

I was living in California in 2008 and we had friends where the housing market just turned and they lost 50% of the value of their house in one day!  It must have felt like the bottom just fell out!  Nobody in this room is outside of that or above that feeling.  We live in a world where there are two things that have a tendency to happen to us quite often.  One of them is storms of life.  They are things you didn’t choose and they just happen because maybe you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time.  They just happen because we live in a fallen world.  Storms come.  Then there’s also sin, either in our life or in other people’s lives that create situations where we just feel that some of the things we work so hard for just vanish before our very eyes.  

We’ve been walking through a series in the Psalms, the Psalms of Ascent specifically.  Today we’re looking at a psalm from Solomon, who was extremely wise.  He asked God for wisdom and God granted him his request. What Solomon’s going to do today (he’s the author of this psalm) is teach us why we feel the way we do when things like that happen, when the storms come in.  Then he’s doing to teach us what we can do with that and how we can make the best of it.  Psalm 127:  Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  I think if Solomon were to be here today and call us together, I think he would say to us, out of this psalm, that there is a thin line, when it comes to our work, between fruitful and futile.  You and I, as human beings, walk this thin line every single day.  Here he uses the word ‘vain.’  If you were to look up the Hebrew, it means “emptiness or nothingness.”  He goes there’s a way to work that ends up empty.  My guess is you’ve felt this at some point, on some level.

There’s two ways that I’ve seen this, at least in my own life, play out.  One is that the way that we work doesn’t last.  Like building a sand castle at the beach and the ways come in and sort of wipe it out.  It might be that financial portfolio.  It could have been a marriage for you that just… worked and you put in the effort and the other person didn’t and the wave just came in and knocked it over.  The way that we work just doesn’t last sometimes.  It’s vain, it’s vanity.  The other thing that happens is our work sometimes doesn’t deliver.  Have you ever got that promotion, got that raise…..thought okay, now I’m going to be able to get financially stable….   What happens when we get raises?  Somehow it just evaporates into thin air, doesn’t it?  Like we’re back to square one.  Or we got the new house, we got the new job, we got the new car…..we drove the car off the lot and the feeling was there for a few moments, for a few days, then after a week it was just a car.  The things that we work for sometimes and the way that we work just come up empty.  They don’t deliver on what we hope they will.   We live under this illusion, especially as we’ve gathered around the American Dream.  The American Dream essentially says that if we work hard enough and do enough then eventually we’ll make it, we will succeed.  I’m seeing that story play out a ton of times in the lives of people all around me and I tend to think that generally it works.  But it doesn’t work every time, does it?  We think the equation is:  If I put in enough work and I work hard enough then I will produce and then I will make it.  It’s always up and to the right, more work equals more production.  It’s simply not true.

If anyone could talk about the way that doesn’t work, it would be Solomon.  Solomon was a great builder.  If you read some of the Old Testament….  He spent THIRTEEN years having people build his house for him.  He didn’t just plant a garden in the back of his house, he planted forests!  He spent seven years…..he commissioned the building of the Temple of the Lord.  He was a builder and he tried his best to build a great life, too.  He operated under this principle:  If I work hard and if I do enough, if I have enough money, then I’ll be prosperous, I’ll be successful, I will be satisfied.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, in this moment of brutal honesty, listen to what he says:  Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind….   {You get a picture of I thought I was getting there, I thought I was going to capture it, I thought I was going to make it and right when I got there and I thought my work would have meaning and goodness and beauty, it just slipped through my fingers.}  …..and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.(Eccl. 2:11)   You’re like hey, Solomon, we’ve got meds for that type of mindset now.  We could help you out……he’s in a dark place.

Psalm 127 would say the same thing.  We’ll say it in a negative way because that’s the way Solomon says it in this psalm and much of Ecclesiastes:  We can work as hard as we want and do as much as we can and if God doesn’t show up and if God doesn’t invade it then it is simply emptiness.  Let’s close in prayer.  No, no, no, because there’s an opposite side of the coin, too, and that’s what this psalm would be about and that’s essentially what the book of Ecclesiastes is about. Solomon gets to the end of that book and to the end of this psalm and he goes listen, if we work just in our own might and if we work in our own strength and if we work for our own thing yeah, it’s empty and it’s meaningless.  BUT if we recognize that God is at work in the midst of our labor and that He is building something beautiful and something significant, He can infuse every moment of every day with his goodness and his purpose and his meaning.  Here’s how we’ll say it this morning:  An awareness of God’s activity creates capacity for abundant living.  So you fill in however you make a living here, whatever your work is… awareness of God’s activity creates an abundant computer programming, abundant teaching, abundant mothering, abundant….whatever you do.  If you have an awareness of God as you do it, there’s a capacity for beauty and meaning and goodness in the midst of it.  

I read a story of Yogi Berra, the great catcher for the New York Yankees.  The Yankees were in a tied game with another team.  The guy steps into the batter’s box and with the end of his bat he draws a cross in the batter’s box.  Yogi Berra, from his catcher’s position, reaches forward and brushes the cross away.  He looks at the batter and goes, “Let’s just let God watch this one.”  I think many of us feel that way about our work — God, you can observe and God, you can maybe give some input, but really I feel like I’m on my own here.  But, friends, there is no…{Will you look up at me just a second; I want you to get this.} ….there is no abundant life apart from the Author of Life.  Many of us, when it comes to our work, our vocation, our jobs (that’s what Solomon’s talking about here), we have this unsettled, uneasiness deep with our soul and I think it’s because we’ve said to God, you can watch and you can look on, but I’ve got it, thank you very much.  To quote the great fourth century theologian St. Augustine:  “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”  That’s Solomon’s conclusion about the way we work.   Faith in God creates the capacity for a life that flourishes, whether it’s in our home or in our vocation or in our neighborhood or in our churches. It’s this faith in God recognizing that as I work, God brings meaning and as I bring what God’s called me to bring, God does what only He can do.

I just want to dive a little bit deeper into what Solomon says in this passage (Psalm 127:1):  Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  I think sometimes we may read this and say, “Well, that means I don’t have to work!  Praise the Lord!”  That’s not what he says at all.  He’s saying that as you work have an awareness that God works, too.  Did you know that all throughout the Scriptures you’re called to work.  Work is a condition of humanity before sin enters the world.  It’s not a condition of the Fall.  We don’t work because of sin.  In fact, there’s work pre-Fall if you go back and read the beautiful narrative in Genesis 1 and 2.  Adam and Eve are called to work before sin enters the world.  We work now during the Fall and there will be work for you to do in God’s Kingdom that you will live in eternally.  So if you don’t like to work, you might not like heaven!  Solomon is NOT saying you can just sit back and allow God to do it.  He’s saying that unless God shows up your work is futile, but you are called to work.

There’s two ways the Enemy twists this good gift of God that we call work.  One of them is through what the King James version says is sloth or, if you have a regular Bible, “laziness.”   Where we figure if we just get something handed to us then we don’t have to work for it.  Listen to the way Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher, puts it:  “In the ordinary affairs of life, my dear brethren, do not go and put your feet on the fender, and sit still, and say, “The Lord will provide,” because if you act so foolishly, very likely he will provide you with a place in the poor house.  If you go up and down the streets with no profession, with your hands in your empty pockets, and say that you are trusting in God, God will give you the wages that you earn, namely poverty; he will clothe you with rags if you clothe yourself with idleness.  If you will not serve him, you shall find the reward that comes to the man who wastes his Master’s talents by wrapping them in a napkin.”  Here’s how Paul would write it to the church at Thessalonica (2 Thess. 3:10) — For even when we were with you, we would give you this command:  If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.  

Solomon’s not saying, “Hey, sit back and take it easy.”  That’s one of the ways the Enemy twists this good gift of work.  The second way is by causing us to put too much weight on what we do.  We live in a society where if you ask somebody to tell you about themselves, often they will respond by telling you what they do.  It’s a way of sort of displaying ‘I find my identity and I find my worth in my work.’  It’s who I am.  The very core of my being is found in what I produce.  It’s no wonder that work related stress is such an epidemic in our day and our time.  We put all of this self-reliance on ‘I’ve gotta make it happen!’  There’s this famous pastor who has this church that is growing exponentially.  He had this goal that his church would reach 100,000 people.  Recently, he had this moral fall.  Listen to his own words as he reflects on that: “What we’ve seen the Lord do over the last 16 years has been a modern day miracle.  However, in my obsession to do everything possible to reach 100,000 people and beyond, it’s come at a personal cost to my own life and created a strain on my marriage.” You think hey, somebody’s working ‘for the Lord’ doing a good thing, but here’s what he lost sight of:  he lost sight of the way that we work ‘with God’ is in partnership, not in isolation.

Here’s the big idea I want you to get from this:  You and I are called by God to commit to effort—-we’ve got to put in the ‘work’—-but to trust God for the outcomes.  We give our best and we trust that God will bring the growth.  See, friends, productivity is found in partnership.  Unless God shows up, the builder builds in vain. Paul would say the same thing to the church in Corinth when people were debating over who they follow, would they follow Paul or would they follow Apollos, here’s what he says:  What then is Apollos?  What is Paul?  Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corin. 3:5-7)  HE’S the one who’s producing.  Oh sure, Paul and Apollos worked hard and Paul will tell you in his letters just how hard he works.  But he works hard with the recognition that God, we are in this together and I’m bringing my best to the table, but, God, I’m trusting that you are the one who will bring the growth.  You’re the one who brings the meaning.  I work, I labor, but you bring the meaning.  You create something beautiful out of the work of my hands. 

We were reminded of this, a few years back, when Kelly, the kids and I planted a garden.  We weren’t exactly ambitious; we have an 8 foot by 4 foot rectangle in our backyard.  We’re just trying to give the kids an experience.  We tilled the ground and planted the seeds.  Harvest time came and I use that term ‘harvest’ loosely.  {Ryan shows picture of carrot.  One side shows a normal sized carrot.  The other side shows teeny, immature, minuscule carrots!}  Doesn’t life sometimes feel that way?  Hey, God, we put in the work.  God, we watered.  God, we did our part and I was passed over for the promotion.  God, my portfolio didn’t perform the way that I wanted it to and God, the relationship just didn’t pan out, even though I put in all the work that I thought I needed to make it happen.  Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your life you’re actually out of control of?  We live under the illusion that if we put in the work it’s going to turn out good.  It only takes one phone call from the doctor to crush that into reality, doesn’t it?  You can eat all the kale and all the broccoli you want, but in the end, so much of our life, so much of your life, is in the hands of a sovereign creator.  We want to control it, don’t we?  We think if we work harder we’ll produce more and our goal in that is I want to control every single aspect of my life.  We hear a message like this and initially, it rubs against our humanity, but I want to say to you that this should be great news for you today.  Here’s why.  It’s the reality of the world that we all live in.  Solomon wants to pull back the curtains a little bit and go isn’t this true, isn’t this real?   That’s the world we live in.  We can, in good conscience, give our best, but we’ve got to trust God to bring the growth.  It’s true in parenting.  It’s true in marriage.  It’s true in your vocation and in your work.

Solomon says: Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.   First he talks about provision, now he talks about protection.  He goes hey, the best army in the world is not a fail-safe against getting attacked.  The best politicians in the world cannot make your nation or your country “ultimately safe.” Now, I’m all about having a good military.  I’m all about electing great politicians.  {Good luck with that this year.}  Friends, as followers of Jesus, our hope is not in our military, our hope is not in who we elect, our only hope is in the God who stands sovereign above it all.  That’s our hope.  So much of it is in his hands.  That’s what Solomon would remind us of.  Paul continues in that great passage in 1 Corinthians.  He draws out something that I think Solomon would say to us as well:  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corin. 3:11)   So, friends, you give the effort, God controls the outcomes, but will you, as you do that, recognize and understand that thefruitfulness of your life is determined by the foundation of your life.  If we build on a faulty foundation, we’re never going to get the production from our life that we hope for, that we pray for, and that we long for.

I saw a news article about the Millennium Tower in San Francisco.  It was built in 2009.  Fifty-eight stories tall. Over the last few years, they noticed the windows are a little bit harder to open.  Some people’s doors stopped working.  People, like Joe Montana, who bought luxury condos in this high rise or bought luxury $10 million homes in this space, now are living in a building that has sunk 16 inches and is tilting 2 inches.  But if you lived on floor number 58, two inches makes a difference, does it not?  So oftentimes we do this work in our life, whether it’s in a vocation or in a relationship, and we put our all into it, but we’re building on the wrong foundation.  Unless the foundation of our lives is the one true God, our lives, eventually, will encounter a storm and they will start to tilt.

Jesus talks about this in Matthew 7 and his encouragement and his teaching is: the storms in life will come, it’s not an ‘if,’ it’s a ‘when.’  And what will be revealed in the storms of life is what foundation you have built on.  I want to give you two quick pieces of encouragement today.  One, build on the foundation of His wisdom.  I think a lot of times, we expect God’s blessing without our willingness to be obedient.  We want his blessing in our marriage, but we won’t live in a marriage according to the Scriptures. We want his hand of blessing on relationships, but we won’t do those in the way that He instructs us to do them. Finances — We want God to bless them, but we’ll often say, “God, I’m not going to operate my finances in the way that you want me to.”  I cannot expect God’s blessing if I’m not willing to be obedient to His wisdom.  It’s going to be building on sand. You can build a great structure, but eventually what you’re building on will be revealed.  It’s ONLY a foundation on Jesus that will be fruitful. 

Second thing.  Not only are we enlightened by His wisdom, that’s how we build on his foundation, but we are empowered by His Spirit.  Paul would say it like this after saying I work, I struggle with everything I’ve got to present the church blameless before God:  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Col. 1:29)  Don’t you love that picture of Paul working his hands to the bone, empowered by the Spirit of God.  What does it look like to be empowered by God’s Spirit?  Here’s the way it works for me. One, it’s the recognition of the love of the Father that the Spirit pours out into my heart.  If I don’t have that, I am working on will power alone and that will only take me so far.  But, friends, when I hear God speak his goodness and his love over me, calling me his child, I could go forever.  Secondly, there’s a strength in being reminded of my salvation and the joy that’s found in that.  In fact, the Scriptures will explicitly state the joy of the Lord is our strength.   So, our hearts our stirred with the love of the Father, our soul is encouraged by the voice and the testimony of the Spirit, and our lives are permeated with the joy of the gospel that declares HE is our chief cornerstone.   He is the one that we build around and that we build on and He is the one that holds it all together.

So Solomon will write:  Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.   That can be sort of poetic and hard for us to really wrap our hearts and our minds around and to say, “Am I doing that, God?  Am I building in vain?  Is this life in vain?”  He wants to answer a question you may have in saying how do we tell? How do we know?  Here’s how you can know.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil….   That’s the litmus test for God, am I trusting that you’re doing your part and that I’m called to do mine?  Have I gotten the roles mixed up?   When I get the roles mixed up, I often start to get anxious.  I often start to feel like I’m in control of more than I’m actually in control of.  I start to feel like if it’s going to happen, I’ve got to make it happen and really, what I’ve forgotten is that God is present and active in every moment of every day.   The question we have to wrestle with is anxious toil, anxious working, anxious (for these people) farming.  Solomon would ask, “Has your anxious farming ever produced more of a crop?”  Has anyone ever thought, “I’m so glad I worried about whether or not those crops were going to grow, because the fact that I worried actually made them grow more.”  No.  No one’s ever said that.

Solomon is inviting us to trust that while we do our work, God does His.  I am nowhere more keenly aware of that reality than when I stand right in this place right here.  I work, I study, I pray, I prepare, but I am absolutely at the mercy of God moving in your life. It’s not me!  If something happens, it is Him.  So much of the time, I think it has to be me.  When I believe and you believe that God is at work, we can actually cease from our labor.  That’s built in to what it means to be human.  If you go back and read Genesis 1 and 2, Adam and Eve wake up in this paradise garden on Day 6 of God’s creative act.  On Day 7, God says let’s just stop and everybody pause and everybody rest.  I’ve often read that and thought, “What are Adam and Eve tired from?  They just woke up naked in a garden!!”    Built into the rhythm of what it means to be human is this recognition: A) That when we cease from our work, God continues His.  B) Adam and Eve are called to stop and look around and take in the beauty all around them and recognize we did absolutely nothing to create this.  God, you are work.  God, you moving.  The human anxious soul is healed when we step into that rhythm of work and rest and Sabbath, recognizing even when we stop, God works, and that God is the creative master of everything we see all around us.

Solomon will say eating the bread of anxious toil is one of the ways we recognize that we’re out of joint, we’re not trusting God to do his part.  We think we have to do His part and we have to do ours.  Because God is a good God and He gives his beloved sleep (Ps. 127:2).  He gives them rest.  He invites them to take his yoke upon them because He is gentle and humble in heart.  I love this word….He gives his beloved—those whom He calls His own—-He gives them rest.  When you and I recognize that embracing rest is a byproduct of receiving love, we position our souls to be made whole by a God who says I’m at work even when you stop.  That might be a word for some of you here today.  You might have come in under the bondage of religion that says you’ve got to keep doing it, you’ve got to do enough, you’ve got to work your way up to God.  What God would say to you this morning is allow my announcement over you to quiet the anxiety within you.  I love you and I’m good and even when you stop I keep working.  

He closes this psalm with what many would say is and teach as the main point.  I actually think it’s an illustration of what Solomon has already taught.  I think it’s a picture for us to see the way that when we trust that God is at work, it creates space for abundant life.  He uses this illustration that we see all around us: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, {or a blessing from the Lord.  Remember, this is a Psalm of Ascent so they’re singing this as they’re hiking and as they’re walking.  If you’ve ever gone on a hike with a child, you need to be reminded that they’re a blessing from the Lord!  Because you wonder…..only with every step!} ..the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!  He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.  What Solomon is teaching us is yes, children, in this time, were a legacy.  They still are. They were a protection.  They were a workforce. If you had a lot of kids, you had a lot of people who could work in the field.  They were a picture of God’s blessing.  In fact, they were a picture of God’s goodness and His abundant blessing.  But, if you’ve ever observed kids, you know that you’re called to put in the effort (especially if you’re a parent), but you’ve got to trust God for the outcome.  As much as we would love to control how their lives go, much of it is in the hands of our Father, is it not?  Like arrows an archer would pull back… that day and time, an archer was not exactly a precise shooter.  They just sort of launched them.  Yeah, that’s sort of what raising kids is like.  When you’re interacting with kids, the foundation that you lay will often determine the fruit that their lives bear.  When you create a space, where they are loved and cared for, they’re able to rest without having to prove that they’re your kids.  They can simply crawl under the gracious covering that your love provides for them.

In a very real way, kids draw out the reality that some of the greatest blessings of our life are the work of God’s hands and God’s grace, not the work of our striving and our labor.  That’s the picture that Solomon is painting.  Eugene Peterson, sort of tongue and cheek, comically says:  “The entire miracle of procreation and reproduction requires our participation, but hardly in the form of what we would call work.”  Think about it.  If you have kids, they’re a great example.  If you don’t, my guess is you would be able to affirm with an avid ‘amen’ that yeah, some of the best things in my life did not come because I worked really hard and I earned them.  If we’re able to step back, some of the best things in our life are simply the gift of grace.  If you’re married, it might a spouse.  {Listen, I praise the Lord every day that he blinded Kelly long enough to allow me to swoop in there.}  I don’t know what it is for you, but I’d encourage you sometime this week to just pause and to pray and to say, “God, what are the greatest things I have in my life?”  My guess is the greatest things you have in your life are grace-given from the hand of God, not from the hard striving and toil of your hands.  That’s his point. Recognize that.  Rest in that.  Do your part, yeah, but invite God to do his.

Friends, if you can’t think of anything else, if you’re a follower of Jesus, I want to say as clearly I can to you today, that THAT salvation you have, of being in Christ, is not something that you earned.  It’s not something that you worked hard enough in order to get and it’s not something that you produced.  It flows from the gracious hand of your heavenly Father who, when Jesus walked to the cross, carried all of your sin.  He did the work you could never do, to invite you into the life that you could never earn.  Your salvation (the greatest thing in your life if you’re a follower of Jesus) is the byproduct of your Father’s grace and goodness NOT the product of the work of your hands, so that none of us could boast.

So for 2000 years, followers of Jesus have been gathering around a table to celebrate a meal and to remember that when He went to the cross and paid the penalty for your sin and mine, He said, “It is finished.”  It’s done! Your salvation is purchased, there’s nothing else to earn.  As a good Father, He calls you children and He invites you to crawl up under His protective covering to remember that He is good and to remember that He’s God, and to remember the lavish love that even allows us to be called children, and to look at fear in the face and say, “I no longer have to be controlled by you, because I am a child of the Most High God and even when it feels like my hands are tied, His are not.”  Even if it feels like my sand castles are getting swept away, He’s got a plan and He is good and I’m clinging to Him.  That’s what we remember when we come to this table.  His body and His blood purchasing us that calls us sons and daughters of the King.

{Ryan gives Communion instructions.}

Father, we come this morning, celebrating your work, what you’ve done on our behalf.  When we were unable to make a way on our own, You made one for us.  Would you help us to believe that, number one, and then would you help us every single day to believe that you are at work in the midst of everything that we do. Father, as we come this morning, would you meet us in this place and change us?  Help us see Jesus.  We believe if we see Him we’ll be changed.  It’s in His name we pray.  Amen.