Seated on High

“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”.
Ephesians‬ ‭2:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As Paul continues with his Epistle, he sets out some truths that must have appeared as strange to Ephesian ears as they are today. Paul in many ways was a spiritual pioneer. He had received a glimpse of Heaven, which he wrote about in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 – “I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago …. and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.” Such a revelation fuelled his grace-filled writings, seeding them with God-truths. And he glimpsed the fact that we have been raised “from the dead”. And we are now seated with Christ in Heaven, united with Him. A “wow!” moment for sure. However, it gets better. Not only are we seated with Christ in Heavenly places, we are united with Him. Imagine it! With Him we will be party to victory over all the things that drag us back in this life. Sickness, death and so on. One thing for sure – we will not be sitting back passively, enjoying the comfort of Heaven. We get a glimpse of what we will be up to from reading the Book of Revelation.

The next verse, with its revelation that God wants to use us as examples of the “incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us”, has to be an understatement of staggering proportions. Incredible for sure. God’s grace is without limit. He pours out His love and kindness without measure. Such God-qualities demonstrate power far beyond human comprehension. We who are Christians are truly overwhelmed that He has chosen us to share in His glory. And the only way we can respond is with a deeply thankful heart. In fact our thanks cannot really scratch the surface of what God really deserves. He has done so much for us.

And so we plod along our pilgrim road, facing into our day to day issues. Dodging the traffic. Eating, drinking, working and sleeping. But inside there is the inner glow of the realisation that we are already there, seated with Jesus in Heaven. And we share how good God has been to us with others, in the hope that they too will be united with Christ. 

God’s Grace

“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”‭‭.
Ephesians‬ ‭2:4-5‬ ‭NLT‬

In the last blog post, we considered the enormity of our perilous status before God. Paul reviewed the sinful state of mankind, and the role of the devil in corrupting and contaminating the world, leaving rebellious and sinful people in the firing line for God’s anger. Thankfully, Paul reminded us that there is a “but” in God’s world. “But God…”. And it is when we read this that the realisation that God has a solution to our sinful state brings us to our knees in deep thankfulness. You see, in our sin pandemic, God’s vaccine comes quietly, effectively and completely, bringing healing and forgiveness for our rebellious and sinful natures. 

But what is this “But”? Paul goes on to mention four key words – “mercy”, “love”, “life” and “grace”. God’s mercy is without dispute. The very fact that we are allowed to complete a pilgrimage through our lives, free to make choices in the way we live, in the way we view God, can only point to a merciful God. And not a God who is stingy and mean, dispensing the bare minimum of mercy. Paul emphasises that God is “rich in mercy”. His mercy is present in copious quantities, providing every opportunity and more for a rebellious world. And Paul explains that God is merciful because He loves us. How can God, rejected by so many, love us? Finding that most people effectively shake their fists in His face declaring that He is unnecessary for their lives, even if He exists? But love us He does, again without limit. God never says, for example, that He will only love us on a Sunday if we go to church. It’s all the time. 24/7. Regardless of where we are and what we are doing. Paul then draws an analogy with a corpse. A dead body. Because that is what sinful people are. That’s what sin does to us. It kills us spiritually. The “but” is completed by God giving us life, the same life that came “when He raised Christ from the dead”.

Finally, in these two verses, Paul points out that we have been saved through God’s grace. The acronym, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense amply describes what this grace is. Unmerited favour. From a God who cares for every human being regardless of race, age, or sex. I recently tried to share the love of God with a man who lives in the village close by. But his sad response was that he had looked into “all this religious stuff”. It wasn’t for him he said – he wanted to join “the party that’s going on downstairs”. There was an opportunity accorded to him to grasp God’s grace and turn towards God, but he rejected it. Sadly, unless the seed planted bears fruit – and there’s always time for that – God is patient, kind and gracious – he will find out that the party he hoped to join might not be quite what he expected.

We have been saved. Well, those of us who have responded to God’s love by embracing the wonderful Son of God, Jesus Christ Himself. Believing in Him. Responding to His love and mercy by declaring His Lordship over our lives. Accepting His Life-giving Spirit. All by His grace. What else can we do other than fall to our knees in deep thankfulness? 

Living In Sin

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.”
Ephesians‬ ‭2:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Paul starts the second chapter of his Epistle, looking back at what his readers, entitled the Ephesian church, used to be like. He pointed out that they “used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil”. And he continued, pointing out the status and work of the devil and his demonic resources. He rounds up these three verses by exposing the fallen state of mankind, with no one escaping their lot in life, being “subject to God’s anger”. But how did it all come to this? As we know, it all started in a garden in an episode that must have broken God’s heart. When the devil exposed his strategy and through his temptation led the first couple into sin. And so the door opened, allowing sin to enter the world, infecting every human being who has ever lived. Everyone follows “the passionate desires and inclinations of [their] sinful nature”. Paul chose his words carefully, he didn’t use the excuse “the devil made me do it”, as some try to do.

It can be hard to get over to godless people the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “But I’m a good person” is a response often heard. “I pay my taxes”, “I try to help others”, “I give money to charity”, and so on, are reasons for the “good person” response. But four words in the verses above expose the real issue – “refuse to obey God”. Sin is all about rebellion to God. Notice that living in sin is a choice and is not inevitable. We can choose to be obedient to God, a choice that starts at a place called Calvary.

We live in a world infected by a sin pandemic. As Paul said, the word “All” implies that everyone catches this disease, and it is inescapably fatal. No ICU or Nightingale hospital will save us from the consequences of our disease. And there is no vaccine other than that supplied by God through His grace.

In our earthly pilgrimage, we journey in an atmosphere of sin. Temptations often and unrelentingly crop up, trying to draw us away from the right paths into the mud and mire of all sorts of transgressions. But God is always there to help us. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read, “ The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” What a faithful, loving and gracious God we serve!

But we have a Heavenly Father who loves us too much to leave us at the end of verse 3 – there’s more to come in the next verses in Chapter 2.

The Church

“Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with Himself.”
‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:21-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Earlier in this first chapter of Ephesians we read that God had a plan. “And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” (‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬). Now that the plan had come to fruition, Paul reaffirms the greatness of Christ, and His status as being the ultimate head of all things. Even head over our presidents or prime ministers. Jesus had, and still has, that authority. And He always will have for all eternity. God’s plan has been implemented through Him. Paul continues with the revelation that all this was because of the Church. But what is this church? A dictionary look up immediately defines churches as ornate and religious buildings, but the dictionary writers had obviously not read these verses. Paul is quite explicit – the Church is the Body of Christ. And Christ is the ultimate authority over everything for the benefit of the Church. 

As an aside, the devil is not the least bit concerned about church buildings. He knows that they are a wonderful device for soaking up the resources of God’s people, their time and their money, in building maintenance. Two congregations local to where I live are in a perilous state because they were very building focused and their church buildings have had to be abandoned because maintenance will cost money that they don’t have. Without a building they are, as Jesus said, “like sheep without a shepherd”

But back to the real Church – the Body of Christ. Romans 12:4-5 reads,  “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” The Body of Christ is composed exclusively of Christians. Not denominations, I should add. All those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour qualify for membership of the Body of Christ. Sadly, this opens a can of worms, because Christians are not good at accepting people in other denominations. The problem is summed up in this old song by the Christian singing group, the Imperials.

Well, you can call yourself a Baptist and not be born again,
A Presbyterian or a Methodist and still die in your sin.
You can even be Charismatic shout and dance and jump a pew.
But if you hate your brother you won’t be one of The Chosen Few.

We need to be careful about what we say about other Christians and other denominations. Whatever we are denominationally labelled matters nothing – the important thing is our relationships with God and each other. Another reason to be careful in what we say about other denominations is that all Christians form the Body of Christ. If we criticise Christians in other denominations, are we not criticising Christ Himself?

Moving on swiftly, we Christians are in a very blessed position. With Jesus as our Head, and us made “full and complete by Christ” we are unstoppable. Praise be to our wonderful God!

God’s Power

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We tend to minimise God and bring Him down to our level, where we can cope with Him. We keep God in a box, opening the lid now and then, letting Him out when we need Him, but otherwise carrying on in our work-a-day lives as though he wasn’t there. But Paul knew differently. His thoughts were flying into Heavenly realms, where his mind boggled at how great God was. No box could contain Paul’s God! His thoughts dwelt on the great Creator God he knew. The God who spoke matter into being. The God who set the stars in place and called each by name. The God who created him in his mother’s womb. The God who chose him before the creation of the world. And in this “wow!” moment he prayed that his readers too would get their minds around our infinitely great and powerful God. Just to confirm the reality of His power, Paul reminded the Ephesians that God was so powerful that death was a non-event to Him – He raised His Son, Jesus, from the dead, to a place of honour in Heaven.

So here we are, pilgrims walking the well-trodden path between the womb and the tomb, perhaps thinking about, and wishing for, some of this power. Power to help us when the paths become strewn with pot holes, boulders and many other obstacles. The cost of living, Covid, sickness, wars, strife – the list is endless. But through God’s grace we can tap into this power right now. And that is why Paul prayed that his readers would understand how great this power is. God’s power can make a difference.

Do we really understand “the incredible greatness of God’s power”? When I think of the word “power” I immediately associate it with electrical power, a necessary commodity powering our aspirations for an eco-friendly world. Or the great clanking, hissing, steam-powered behemoths that unashamedly transported people and goods for most of the 20th Century. The performance of car engines is compared in units of “horse-power” indicating their ability to speed around the pot-hole ridden roads of 2022. But none of these man-made definitions of “power” even scratch the surface of God’s power. His power, not horse power, is what drives the Universe. Which man-made example of power is there that can create matter from nothing? Or can raise someone from the dead? Has man ever found a way of circumventing our understanding of the laws of physics? Paul wanted his readers to get their minds round the infinite capability of God’s power. We are bounded by the limits of our physical senses but God’s power is unlimited and stretches into infinity far beyond what we can appreciate or even imagine. We can only confess our puny, infinitesimally small, understanding, and instead ask God to help us. In our pilgrimage through life we bumble along, occasionally thinking about God’s power, saying every now and then, “Wow!” and intermingling it with our praises to the God “Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine …”. And asking Him for more grace and understanding.

The Light of God

“I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of His calling —that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that He finds in us, His holy ones!”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭TPT‬‬

What is the “light of God”? In 1 John 1:5 we read, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” Jesus described Himself as the “Light of the World” (John 8). God created light (Genesis 1). James said God is the “Father of lights” (James 1). God is associated with light. With light, everything is visible. With our eyes we see and appreciate light. In darkness, our eyes have no use. 

So the next question must be, “How can God’s light impact our imaginations”? We have to refer to a verse later in this Epistle, where Paul said, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ – emphasis mine). Our imaginations can have a significant role to play when it comes to leveraging our inheritance. Paul said that we have the power within us through God’s Spirit, making it possible for Him to do extraordinary things through us in His service. The only limitation seems to be our willingness to ask and dream.

I used to be guilty of “day-dreaming” at primary school. And still am to a certain extent. There is something within me that wants to think “outside the box”, exploring possibilities. Imagining scenarios where life is different, where God can make a difference. Paul was not referring to a worldly imagination embedded in fantasies – he was promoting a God-inspired imagination underpinned by God-dreams, flooded with the light of His presence; allowing a revelation of what it means to be a child of God to inspire and motivate us. Through all of this we will realise “the hope of His calling”. Not for me a life of pew-warming, a life of ordinariness. How can I, or anyone else for that matter, be satisfied with that? I want to enter into all that God has for me. And I’m sure that we, as Christians, want to do the same. 

There is a pivotal word in this verse – “until”. This light flooding our imaginations doesn’t bring about an instant result. There is a development process happening. Over time. We take small steps of faith, seeing the light of God grow brighter and brighter in revealing what He is capable of. Bolstering “the hope of His calling”. As we say “Yes Lord”, who knows what might happen as the light of God permeates through us into our communities and families.

Spiritual Wisdom

“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”
‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Apostle Paul, languishing in his prison cell, was on a different plane. In a different zone. His thoughts were focused on his friends in the Ephesian church. I can just imagine him smiling to himself as he brought into his mind one person after another. And he never stopped thanking God for them. Just as an aside, when was the last time we thanked God for our family and our church friends? Truly, a zone worth spending time in, because God has gifted us with people around us. It might not feel that way sometimes but He did!

Paul continues in these verses by assuring his readers that he constantly prays for them. And not just random prayers, “Please bless …”, but a specifically focused prayer for wisdom. He could have prayed for protection, for finances, for all sorts of things, but he instead narrowed his focus to the topic of spiritual wisdom. This morning the story of Solomon came into my mind from 1 Kings 3. In a dream, God asked Solomon what He could give him. And Solomon’s humble response unfolds in the story, with his request for wisdom. God’s response to Solomon was, “I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!”. So Solomon received a double blessing – God was pleased with Solomon’s request. And the memory of this encounter between God and Solomon has coined the phrase, “You’ll need the wisdom of Solomon to sort that issue out” or something similar.

Wisdom appears high up on God’s list of gifts. Without it we cannot function well in this life. And Paul, in praying for the Ephesians, obviously knew that. In that more unstable society he could have prayed for gifts such as protection and security. But it had to be wisdom.

So what is Spiritual Wisdom? It starts with having an effective and intimate relationship with God. From that can come guidance and insights that provide the optimum response and reaction to life’s problems and challenges. But there’s more. As we spend time in God’s presence, getting His take on life events, following His wise paths, we start to understand how He is thinking. We find out that His approach to our fellow inhabitants and situations on this planet is often very different to ours. We find out that our initial responses to the hassles and injustices of life are totally at odds with His, at least for most of the time.

So Paul, in his wisdom-prayers for his dear friends back in Ephesus, knew what they needed. Then, as now, being a Christian was not an easy path to follow. Wisdom is an essential ingredient for the pilgrim. Wisdom will ease the trail before us, helping us to avoid the man-traps and the boulders the enemy will place in our way. Please God, give us wisdom, Your wisdom. Amen.

Our Inheritance

“Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan. 
The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.”
‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:11, 14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Paul continues by informing us that because we are part of His family, united with Christ, we have an inheritance. Note that verse 11 says we have already received this inheritance – it is not something that awaits us “at the right time”, as he said earlier in this chapter. Now normally we would only expect an inheritance to come our way after someone dies, leaving a Last Will and Testament that contains a clause in our favour. But God said that we have our inheritance now. Right now. This very minute. And we are reminded that we have our inheritance because we were chosen, and before we ask about how all this is happening, Paul says that God will make it all work out. All sorted because it’s in His plan.

So what is this inheritance we have? And how do we know we have it? If we list the benefits of being in God’s family, we find that amongst them is the assurance that one day we will be in His presence. Justified. Sanctified. Free of sickness and death. There will be no evil there. We will have a new body. And so on. And as we develop these thoughts, it is obvious that we will not assume all the benefits of our inheritance until we join God in Heaven. In fact, we might think that there are no obvious signs of our spiritual inheritance in this life at all. Except! Verse 14 tells us that God’s gift of His Spirit has been given to us as His guarantee. Through the Holy Spirit we can get a glimpse of our inheritance. Through the Holy Spirit we can start to enjoy our inheritance in this life. Later on in this Epistle we will find that through the Holy Spirit we will enjoy full access to God’s resources; His power can work through us into our daily lives now. 

We Christian’s are blessed people. Let us be a grateful people as well, grateful for this wonderful and amazing gift of the Holy Spirit. Through Him we can tap into God’s very presence, experiencing our wonderful inheritance now. And with Paul we will praise and glorify Him, our loving Heavenly Father. 

God Has a Plan

“God has now revealed to us His mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfil His own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Hardly a day goes by without us making a plan of some sort. We plan the things we have to do in the day ahead. We plan how to get to work. What shopping we need. And then there is the process of planning a holiday, or a building project in the garden. Life is full of plans and the associated costs in implementing them. Jesus referred to the importance of planning – in Luke 14, He pointed out to His disciples that there was a cost involved if they wished to follow Him. And He used the examples of building a tower, or going to war, as events needing a plan. Of course, there are many days when we don’t make a plan. Perhaps a leisure day. But even then the decision not to make a plan is a plan in itself. I was once involved in planning major engineering projects and the saying “Fail to plan and you plan to fail” was often demonstrated by cost overruns and time delays. Life is full of plans.

So it must be no surprise to us to find that God has a plan. In fact the Bible is full of circumstances and events where God had a plan. For example, He orchestrated the events around the birth of Jesus, events meticulously planned out and recorded in the Gospels. In our verses today, Paul records that God’s plan started out as a mystery. Why did Jesus come? Why did He have to die? These, and many other events that took place during His short life here on Planet Earth totally flummoxed the peoples living in Palestine at that time. The plan they thought God would one day implement to set His people free was nothing like the one God had in His mind. 

Paul reminded the Ephesians of what God’s plan was. It started with a young peasant girl saying “Yes” to an angel visitor; the subsequent birth, life and death of God’s own Son, Jesus. And His plan continued through the work of the early church as God’s plan for salvation was preached, and continues to be preached, throughout the world, to this day. In the spiritual realms, Jesus is building a house for us, because one day we who are Christians will join Him there. And then there is a day coming when Jesus will assume command over “everything”, not just a religion. “Everything” includes, well, everything. Governments, peoples, societies and so on down to the smallest particle ever created. Of course, it doesn’t stop there – it will involve all of Heaven as well. Jesus’ authority will be total. That is God’s plan, a mystery no more.

There is an amazing and mind-boggling implication in all of this. As God’s people, we are not observers, mere pilgrims standing on the touch lines of life, looking on as God’s plan is worked out through our traditional outlets such as missionary organisations and churches. We all have the opportunity to play a part in God’s plan. Of course we all cannot just up and leave our families and jobs to preach the Gospel in far-off lands, though perhaps some will be called to do so. But our part is very important, no matter how small we think it might be. God has resourced His plan with ordinary human beings, whom He has placed in just the right time and place to further His plan. We are no less important in our roles as Mary was two thousand years ago. Our role might not be so dramatic and high profile as being the Mother of Jesus, but in its own way our interaction with our friends, family and communities is still part of God’s plan. Because in doing what God has asked us to do we are bringing forward that day Paul called, “At the right time”.

So in our Pilgrimage through life, we have a job to do. We are not just plodding along towards Heaven, hoping that it won’t be too long before we get there. On the way we will meet other pilgrims, who God has plans for too. Our interaction with them in the way God requires is all part of God’s plan. Perhaps all He wants us to do is to give a cheery and encouraging word, “at the right time”. There may be some practical help involved in the case of others. We may be asked to build relational bridges with those who are outcasts and unloved – after all, Jesus was often accused of being a friend of sinners. We may be required to sow Gospel seeds not just through our words but also by the way we live.

One last thought. A very humbling thought. God doesn’t use the great saints of history to fulfil His plan. He uses sinners like you and me. Ordinary punters with our struggles with the sins we commit. With the issues of life. In the end, we are after all, “Beggars showing other beggars where to find bread”, to quote Bishop D T Niles. And one day, “at the right time”, we will hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). We praise You Lord!

Cascading Grace

“Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by His blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of His grace. This superabundant grace is already powerfully working in us, releasing all forms of wisdom and practical understanding.”
‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:7-8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Here is another spiritual blessing – the treasures of redemption. But let’s unpick these two verses because they in themselves contain a treasure of Spirit-inspired truth. First of all we are “joined to Christ”. Paul takes this as read because Jesus is family. He’s our older brother. So we are related and joined to Him through our adoption into God’s family. Redemption happened through the sacrificial death of Jesus at Calvary – He shed His blood so that we could, and would, be forgiven for all our sins. As these verses say, they have been cancelled. For ever. And this reality opens a door exposing an eternity full of treasures that we can now access. Without redemption for sin, a lost eternity would hold no treasures. Just an empty God-less place full of torment and regret. But we have access to the treasures through God’s grace. But what are these treasures? We know that being in God’s presence is in there; wonderful and amazing in its own right. There are other gems such as righteousness, purity, no more sickness, no more death – the list is endless and we are unable to fully appreciate, by a long way, the extent of God’s riches, made available to us through His grace. 

But in this life, as we tramp along life’s highways and byways, we can dip into God’s gracious treasure trove, accessing all the resources we need. We find that there are truly “cascading riches of His grace” flowing over us in times of need. Think of the times when we need nuggets of perseverance, patience, love, peace – all available to us just by lifting the lid on His treasure chest and seeking out just what is needed for our souls. All there through His grace. Day by day. Hour by hour. Wisdom is in there too. Lots of it. And as the verses say, it is working within us – most of the time we don’t even know that it is there. The use of the word “practical” is significant. Our God is a practical God, helping and resourcing us in practical ways. By His grace we march on, God-drumbeats powering our steps. 

The “treasures of redemption” are not just there, though, for us to look for and find. We are not in a life, searching for some Holy Grail, jumping through hoops or undertaking some difficult mission to find these treasures. Note that they are given to us. They are right here now. The treasure chest is before us. The key is in our hands. There is nothing to stop us accessing its contents. God’s amazing grace, His super abundant grace, empowers us. Whatever our state is in life, good or bad. Easy or difficult. Sick or healthy. We are breathtakingly blessed by the riches of His grace, cascading over us. Forever.