First Reformed (2017) Script

I have decided to keep a journal.

Not in a word program or digital file, but in longhand, writing every word out so that every inflection of penmanship, every word chosen, scratched out, revised, is recorded.

To set down all my thoughts and the simple events of my day factually and without hiding anything.

When writing about oneself, one should show no mercy.

I will keep this diary for one year, 12 months.

And at the end of that time, it will be destroyed.

Shredded, then burnt. The experiment will be over.

Please rise.

What is thy only comfort in life and death?

That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with his precious blood...

These thoughts and recollections are not so different from those I confide to God every morning.

When it is possible. When he is listening.

Bread of life. The cup of salvation.

Bread of life. The cup of salvation.

Bread of life. The cup of salvation.

This journal is a form of speaking, of communication from one to the other.

A communication which can be achieved simply and in repose without prostration or abnegation.

It is a form of prayer.

Bread of life. The cup of salvation.

There, uh, is a leak in the men's restroom.

No, I fixed it.

No. I was just there. It's still leaking.

Same place. Under the hot faucet.

What about the women's room?

The women's is fine. Uh, do you want me to call the plumber from Abundant Life?

No, I'll have another crack at it.

I hate always bugging them for extra little costs.

They don't mind. That's what they're there for.

And you're totally within your budget.

Still, I don't want to.

Have you posted the sermon?

Yes. I did it this morning.

Oh, hi... Reverend?

Yes, uh... Mary, right?

Mary Mansana. Yeah. Nice to see you again.

I wanted to talk, if that's okay.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Come on in, Mary.

I'll be right back.

Mary, how can I help you?

Um, I was wondering if you would talk to my husband, Michael. Oh, sure. I...

Actually, not now. He has to...

He has to go to work.

He has to fill in at Home Depot.

Mary? What is it?

I'm worried about him.

He's involved in the Green Planet movement.

It's an activist group. Mmm-hmm.

And he was in jail in Canada.

And he just got out two weeks ago.

He just sits around at home.

He doesn't... He doesn't go out.

I got him to fill out a temp form for Home... For Home Depot.

Okay. Um, so that's good.

Are you sure you don't want to go to Abundant Life?

They have a whole team of counselors over there, who are trained and...

I know, but he doesn't want to.

He thinks it's more of a company than a church.

And so, he said he would talk to you.

Uh, all right. Tomorrow?

After lunch? Great. Great.

I'll just need the, uh... I just need an address.

And, uh, can you tell me a little more?

Oh, he applied for Compassionate Release when he found out.

He was at Fort Providence. They let him out early.

Wait, now. Um, found out what?

That I... I was pregnant.

Oh. Hmm. Congratulations.

Thanks.

He... He thinks it's wrong to bring a child into this world.

He wants to kill our baby.

I assisted Sunday the youth group at Abundant Life.

The young people were so excited, so full of life.

They were open. They welcomed communion.

Maybe I shouldn't care about whether people like me.

Did Jesus worry about being liked?

I look at the last lines I wrote with disdain.

Twelve months.

Can I keep up an exercise that long?

When I read these words, I see not truth, but pride.

I wish I had not used the word pride.

But I cannot cross it out.

If only I could pray.


Hi, Reverend.

Hi. Is Michael home? Yeah. Come on in.

Okay. Yeah.

Hey. Good to see you. Nice to see you.

Um, would you like some coffee?

Yes. But, um...

We're... I... I think we have some tea.

Yes. That would be better.

Okay. Thanks.

Let me take your coat?

Um, no, it's okay. I got it.

Come on in.

Yeah. I don't know why Mary...

There's no need to apologize.

No, uh... She told me that you've been up in Canada.

Uh, yeah. Uh, Fort Providence.

It's, uh, in the Mackenzie Delta.

It's way in the north.

Yeah. Beautiful country, I imagine.

Yeah, it is.

Mary said things have been getting you down?

Uh, yeah, things.

Yeah, you could say that. Yeah.

Oh! Thank you very much.

It's hot. Perfect.

Thank you.

Well, Mary is pregnant. Hmm.

Yeah. How far along is she?

Uh, 20 weeks.

Congratulations. Thanks.

Hey, how old are you, Reverend?

I'm 46.

Uh, 33.

That's... That's how old our child will be in 2050.

Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm. Yeah. You know, that's...

That's two years older than I am right now.

Mmm-hmm.

You'll be 81. Yeah.

Hey, you know what the world will be like in 2050?

Hmm. Hard to imagine.

Yeah, you think?

I mean, Reverend...

Uh, the world is changing so fast.

And right in front of us.

I mean, one third of the natural world has been destroyed in your lifetime.

You know, the earth's temperature will be three degrees centigrade higher.

Four is the threshold.

You know? "Severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts."

And when scientists say stuff like that, you know?

And National Center for Atmospheric Research, Lawrence Livermore, the Potsdam Institute. Uh, Reverend...

He went on like that for some time.

By 2050, sea levels two feet higher on the East Coast.

Low lying areas underwater across the world.

Bangladesh, 20% loss of landmass.

Central Africa, 50% reduction in crops due to drought.

The Western reservoirs dried up.

Climate change refugees. Epidemics. Extreme weather.

You know, the...

The bad times, they will begin.

And from that point, everything moves very quickly.

You know, this social structure can't bear the stress of multiple crises.

Opportunistic diseases, anarchy, martial law, the tipping point.

And this isn't in some, like, distant future.

You will live to see this.

You know, my children will experience this unliveability.

This, uh...

Damn. I'm sorry. I just... You know, I...

I thought things could change, you know?

I thought... I thought people would listen.

Do you have thoughts of harming yourself?

No.

Why? Did... Did Mary say something like that?

No. No.

No, I'm not worried for myself. I just...

This world is gonna be what it is.

Um... But can I ask you a question, Reverend?

Mmm-hmm.

How do you sanction bringing in a little girl, uh, for argument's sake, let's just say that, uh, Mary and I's, uh, child, it's a little girl.

You know, a child that's so full of hope and naive beliefs, into a world where that little girl, uh...

She grows up to be a young woman and she looks you in the eyes and she says that you knew this all along, didn't you?

You see, that...

I mean, what? What are you supposed to say then?

There's something growing inside Mary.

Something as alive as a tree, surely.

As an endangered species.

Something full of the beauty and mystery of nature.

You said sanction?

You think Mary should have an abortion?

This birth, is that your right?

Is that your decision?

Have you asked Mary what she thinks?

Look, this... This isn't...

It's not about your baby.

It's not about Mary.

It's about you and your despair.

Your lack of hope.

Look, people have, throughout history, have woken up in the dead of the night, confronted by blackness.

The sense that our lives are without meaning.

The Sickness Unto Death.

Yeah, but this is something different.

Yeah, no. Man's great achievements have brought him to the place where life as we know it may cease in the foreseeable future.

Yes, that's new.

But the blackness

that's not.

We are scientific people. We want to solve things.

We want rational answers.

Right? And if...

If humankind can't overcome its immediate interests enough to ensure its own survival, then you're right.

The only rational response is despair.

But do you think that, that...

That there's any existence apart from this?

This here, right now?

Uh, yes. Yeah, right.

Before us. After us. Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. Wait a second.

You're talking about the next lifetime? Huh?

You really... You just, uh...

I felt like I was Jacob wrestling all night long with the angel.

Fighting in the grasp.

Every sentence, every question, every response a mortal struggle.

It was exhilarating.

You believe in martyrdom, Reverend?

I'm not sure I know what you mean.

You know, the Saints of God, the early Christians who wouldn't renounce their faith?

The missionaries who were attacked in the fields of the Lord.

Do you believe that they died for a purpose?

I do. Well, every week, activists are killed trying to protect the environment.

A hundred-and-seventeen were killed last year for their beliefs.

All right, right there.

Uh, this is José Claudio Ribeiro da Silva.

Huh? And that's his wife, Maria.

They were gunned down in 2011 in the Amazon.

You know, they were protesting free cutting of the rain forest Hey, uh... This is Dorothy Stang, 2005.

She was, um, a nun from Ohio.

And what, what was the purpose of their deaths?

You know, in, uh...

In 2010, the IPCC predicted that if drastic action wasn't taken by 2015, environmental collapse would be irreversible.

And nothing was done.

And now it's 2017.

You said you respected me.

What I... What I've been through.

Yes.

So, you know my story.

Yeah, you were a chaplain. Uh-huh.

My father taught at VMI.

I encouraged my son to enlist.

It was the family tradition.

Uh, like his father, my father before me.

A patriotic tradition.

My wife, uh, was very opposed.

My son enlisted anyway. And, uh...

Six months later he was dead in Iraq. Right?

I talked my son into a war that had no moral justification.

My wife could no longer live with me.

I left the military.

I was lost.

And Reverend Jeffers from Abundant Life, he gave me this position at First Reformed and here I am.

Now Michael, I can promise you that whatever despair you feel about bringing a child into this world cannot equal the despair of taking a child from it.

Hey, what... What was his, his name? Your son?

Joseph.

The boy thrown down the well.

Yeah. I remember. Mmm-hmm.

The dreamer.

The dreamer, yeah. Yeah.

And you were able to just go on?

Courage is the solution to despair.

Reason provides no answers.

I can't know what the future will bring.

We have to choose despite uncertainty.

Wisdom is holding two contradictory truths in our mind, simultaneously.

Hope and despair.

A life without despair is a life without hope.

Holding these two ideas in our head is life itself.

Are you a drinking man, Reverend?

It doesn't help.

No, I suppose not.

Can God forgive us?

For what we've, uh, done to this world?

I don't know.

Who can know the mind of God?

But we can choose

a righteous life.

Belief...

Forgiveness...

Grace covers us all.

I believe that.

Let's... Let's meet again.

Want to?

Tomorrow after lunch, same time.

Okay yeah. It's a... It's a plan.

I went over everything that was said, what should have been said, what could have been said differently, what could have been said better.

"I know that nothing can change

"and I know there is no hope."

Thomas Merton wrote this.

Despair is a development of pride so great that it chooses one's certitude rather than admit God is more creative than we are.

Perhaps it's better I didn't say that to him.


Who am I to talk about pride?


Well, to begin, the church was constructed in 1767 in a style we now call Dutch Colonial.

It was made by settlers... Follow me.

Using local timber.

First Reformed took seven years to build.

The Vei Plancks.

Uh, Effie here, her tombstone dates back to 1787.

The church was partially rebuilt in 1837 following a fire.

This section remains preserved.

If you look closely behind the Continental Army Flag, you'll find two bullet holes from shots fired during the Skirmish of Snowbridge.

In two months we're celebrating our 250th anniversary.

Here is an example of some of the church's chinaware brought over from the Netherlands.

And the first chalice. It's beautiful.

And here, this is the original key from the front door before the fire.

Yeah.

And in that cabinet we have, um, souvenirs that are for sale.

We have mugs, caps, postcards, key chains, pens, t-shirts.

What size are these?

Unfortunately, they are all small.

I have some more on order, but I'm waiting for them to come in.

The caps are great, though.

It's a one size fits all.

The pulpit was donated in 1879 by William Mercer.

And the church organ, which unfortunately isn't working at this time, uh, was manufactured in England by A.G. Hill.

Did you hear the one about the Choir Mistress and the Minister?

No.

She chased him around the church and caught him by the organ.

Oh. No, I, uh...

I hadn't heard that one.

All right. Come on. Follow me.

All right. Thank you all very much.

Be well. Thank you.

Yeah. Thanks a lot.

Drive safe.

Thanks.


Okay, take five.

Penny for your thoughts?

Oh. Joel wanted to talk to me.

Nothing serious, I hope. Oh, I assume not.

You want to have lunch?

Well, I have something after, but uh, yeah.

I could sit with you for a second.

Oh, remember that?

What?

When everything was ahead of you.

Yeah. But try telling them that.

See you then.


Hello.

Reverend Toller. Yes.

Oh. Go right in. Okay.

He's expecting you.

Um, this is... That's my wife's stuff. So.

Go ahead and deal with it.

Oh, good! Reverend Toller.

Come on in.

Roger, make sure you get back to me as soon as you can on that.

Hey Reverend.

Good seeing you. Why don't you have a seat there?

Roger, okay to leave that door open.

Can I get you a water or anything?

Oh, no. I'm good. I'm good.

So, how are things over at First Reformed?

Oh, busy. You know how it is.

You do one thing to the other, next thing you know it's Sunday again.

Yeah, tell me about it.

Well, I brought you in, I wanted to ask you about the 250th Reconsecration.

Now, that's just around the corner.

Yeah, of course. It's only eight weeks away.

And how's the planning going on that?

Well, your office is handling the invitations and I'm a little worried about seating.

I mean, because we have your staff.

We have the Elders. We have the Deacons.

We have the Governor, his people.

The Mayor, his people.

We don't have any room for spillover.

You know, it's the Sanctuary and that's it.

You know what? I think we'll simulcast the ceremony here, in the main room.

All right. So that's 5,000 seats.

Yeah, okay. Well then...

We can do the reception in the rotunda.

The, um... The organ at First Reformed.

Is that fixed? Oh right, yeah. No, it's not.

We're waiting on some pieces.

I don't... It was... It's just more complicated than we thought at first.

Well, we can't have a reconsecration without an organ.

"A Mighty Fortress is Our God."

That's all organ.

Did you know that, uh, Martin Luther wrote that in an outhouse?

Oh. Yeah.

"A Mighty Fortress..."

I think every seminarian knows that one.

Oh, man, I cannot get that image out of my mind.

I mean, whenever I see that song going on and I can look around the congregation and know everybody's thinking the same thing.

This man, oh, goodness. Oh, makes me laugh.

Anyway, have you, uh, prepared your remarks?

Ugh, no. Not yet. But, I will.

So, how are you?

Oh, I'm fine.

No, really.

I mean, it's been a while since we've talked.

And you know, even a pastor needs a pastor.

We should do it, okay?

I'd like that.

Good. And come by here more often.

You should get out. Come on by and be a part of things.

So many activities you can do. And...

And the kids like you a lot. Mmm.

They always speak highly of you.

So you can get out of that, uh...

What is the play? What do they like to call it, over where you are? The, uh... The museum.

The souvenir shop.

They call it the souvenir shop.

Well, good. Well, good. You're doing a great job.

I'm grateful for the opportunity.


How was Jeffers?

Oh. He wants me to meet Ed Balq.

Balq Industries, Balq Energy, Balq Paper, Balq Peanuts...

Why?

Well, it's all about the Reconsecration.

And apparently Mr. Balq wants to make sure he gets proper credit for underwriting the whole thing.

Well, he should.

First Reformed would be a parking lot if it wasn't for him. I guess.

Did you see the doctor?

Yes. I made an appointment.

There was a bit of a hang up with the insurance company, but...

God, they make it so difficult.

Yeah, well. That's what they do.

Mmm-hmm.

You need someone to take care of you.

Esther, we tried that. I'm not made for that.

For what? Love? You're not made for love?

My marriage was a failure.

No marriage can survive the loss of a child.

It's not right.

Is that what you think?

That what we did together was a sin?

That we transgressed?

No. That's not what I think.

I've seen enough real sin to know the difference.

It's just...

Okay?

Okay. I understand, I...

I care about you. I want you to be happy.

Well, I am happy.

Some are called for their gregariousness, some are called for their suffering.

Others are called for their loneliness.

They are called by God, because through the vessel of communication they can reach out, and hold beating hearts in their hands.

They are called because of their all-consuming knowledge of the emptiness of all things that can only be filled by the presence of Our Savior.

Yes? Reverend Toller?

Oh! It's me.

Yes, Mary? I got your message about rescheduling.

You must come over. Now.

Is Michael there?

No. He's at work. You must come over. Now.

Okay. Okay.


Thanks for coming.

Follow me.

I was, uh, looking for some batteries, 'cause we were out. And I thought maybe there'd be some in here, you know?

And then something just didn't seem right.

Okay, I put everything back the way I found it, 'cause I wanted you to see how it was.

Explosives?

It's a suicide vest.

And there's other elements in there too.

There's batteries and, um, detonators and tubes of jelly.

You know, he'd been working in the garage lately.

And he said he was fixing a motor.

And I didn't question him.

Cause I... I was just happy that he was doing something that made him happy.

But you had no idea that he was thinking of...

No. No suspicions. Nothing like this.

All right. Well. I'm gonna take this. All right?

This cannot remain here.

I'm gonna take it and dispose of it. And...

You're not gonna go to the police?

No, I won't... Do you... Do you want me to?

No! No, no, no.

I don't think it'd help.

I don't think anything good will come from him feeling threatened.

I think I'm gonna come over tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

Somehow, through our conversation, I will address this.

I'm so frightened.

You don't mean that he, you're afraid of him?

That he's gonna hurt you, right?

No. No, no, no.

I'm afraid for him. No? Okay. All right.

You know, are there other activists, like coming around, calling? No. There's nobody.

He has no friends. He's barely even sociable, so.

All right, but he has you.

Yeah. You'll stand by him?

Yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, so will I.

Discernment intersects with Christian life at every moment.

Discernment.

Listening and waiting for God's wish what action must be taken.

My petty ailments have made me bad-tempered.

I fight the urge not to write down the thoughts which come to my mind.

The desire to pray itself is a type of prayer.

How often we ask for genuine experience when all we really want is emotion.

My hands shake as I write these lines.


I wasn't expecting you for another couple weeks.

Uh, we got a message from the boss.

He said it was a top priority.

You're having some kind of big event here?

Yeah, the church is having its 250th anniversary.

Abundant Life is planning quite the ceremony.

Hmm. A Mighty Fortress.

Oh.


Yes, sir.

I mean, he had been fighting with depression.

That's why I was supposed to meet him.

I never imagined anything like this.

Were you in touch with the immediate family?

Well, his... His wife, Mary.

She's the one who first asked me to meet with him.

Did she know about your text?

No. But she was concerned. We... We both were.

Have you notified her?

No.

I guess that's where I'm headed.

All right. Okay.

All right, do you mind if I follow behind you? All right.

I knew his father.

Really? What's he like?

A businessman.

Morbid son of a bitch.

I guess it runs in the blood.

Thank you, Reverend.

Mrs. Mensana, again I'm sorry for your loss.

If there's anything else that we can do, please let us know.

Thanks. Thank you, Officer.

Reverend. Thank you.

You didn't tell the police, right?

About?

No. No.

If you find anything else like that, get rid of it.

As long as it's safe, I mean. Burn it, bury it.

Michael was troubled, but his cause was just.

There's no reason to bring disrepute on that cause.

Yeah.

Are you an activist as well?

I share Michael's beliefs.

But not his despair. I mean, I wanna live.

I wanna be a mother. Right.

I wanna have this child.

Do you have family nearby?

My... Yeah, my sister. She's in Buffalo.

You might want to call her. I will.

So, he... He went into the garage?

Yeah.

What did he say?

Nothing.

Well, from a police point of view, I imagine this is a pretty cut-and-dry case.

Still, I'd probably clean up the office, maybe get rid of his laptop.

You...


Open it.


I'd sensed it.

What?

He was absent.

He was becoming someone I didn't know.

Like, before I was pregnant even.

And he was just so full of anger, you know?

Think I should probably call my parents. My sister.

They should... They should know.

I stayed while she called her sister.

Her sister was going to drive down.

And her parents would come for the final rights.

Uh, hey, Bill. Chicken or beef?

Uh, beef. Beef. Okay, great.

How've you been?

I'm all right. Yeah. You okay?

Is that enough for you?

Thanks a lot, Reverend.

Did you want the chicken or the beef?

Uh, the beef. Thank you.

Beef? Yeah. Cool.

There you are. Careful, it's hot.

Reverend, I wanted to ask you...

Oh, shit! Ow!

Damn. I'm sorry, Joseph! I'm so sorry.

Terrible night. No sooner than I shut my eyes, desolation came upon me.

What is one's last thought as you pull the trigger?

"There goes my head."

Or, "Jesus, watch over me?" Or neither?

I'm going to tear these pages out.

This journal brings me no peace.

It's self-pity. Nothing more.


I awoke at three with a cry.

It's been five months since I sensed the first warning signs.

I went into the church and fell asleep on a bench.

How easily they talk about prayer, those who have never really prayed.

Excuse me? Oh, my goodness!

Well, since I made my commitment, I...

I have felt the Lord moving in my life.

If happiness came in pill size, it would have JC stamped on it.

Continuous release size.

I wake up feeling better.

My relationships are better.

And I got a raise last week.

I find myself in prayer without even thinking about it.

Thank you, Jason. That is very inspiring.

Praise Jesus. My every breath is a prayer.

Uh, thoughts? Reactions? Yes? Cynthia.

Three months ago, my father got laid off.

He can't find any work.

Nobody loves the Lord more than my father.

He is always testifying, he volunteers.

Did he do something wrong?

Um... You all know Reverend Toller from First Reformed.

Hey, yeah. Hi. Yeah.

How... How do you answer this, Reverend?

Well, Cynthia. I'm sorry that happened to your father.

There's a lot of church people, good Christians, who see, uh, a connection between godliness and prosperity.

But that's not what Jesus teaches.

That's not what Jesus lived.

There's no dollar sign on His pulpit.

There's no American flag either.

I think, Cynthia, what your father is experiencing is...

Christians shouldn't succeed.

That's what he means. Christianity is for losers?

Jake, Jake!

I just get tired of turn the other cheek.

Jesus didn't turn the other cheek.

Why stand for anything?

Take prayer out of the schools.

Give money to people too lazy to work for it.

And whatever you do, don't offend the Muslims.

I mean, no sooner do I mention the poor, and this teenager jumps down my throat like I just took a shit on the American flag.

Forgive my language. Oh, God!

Oh, Roger told me.

He was great. He was terrific. He's a good man.

Well, he said you kept your cool, and he admired you for that.

There's just no middle ground with these kids.

Everything is so extreme.

It's the times. These are frightening times. These...

These kids, they grow up in a world that, you and I, we wouldn't even recognize.

Global warming, a sea of pornography, hyper violent video games. It's a world without privacy.

Each kid isolated, communicating on media.

It's a world without hope!

You don't know what it's like to raise a kid in this...

No, I did raise a kid.

I didn't mean it like that.

I know you didn't.

They're just frightened. These kids, they want certainty. Mmm-hmm.

You know, don't think, follow.

Uh...

But they fall prey to extremism.

Jihadism is everywhere. Even here.

It's just... That's not the church that called me.

Nor me.

It's up to us. We have to listen and guide and encourage our young members to express themselves without judging them.

We have to lead by example.

We have to be patient.

Oh, this sounds great.

I'm gonna have to sharpen my chops for the Reconsecration.

Do you know what they want to play?

No, I have no idea.

Abundant Life is handling everything.

Invites, the seating.

Basically, I just introduce Joel.

And then he does his spiel, introduces the Governor, maybe Ed Balq.

Oh, why him?

It's sort of his whole deal.

I mean, he's underwritten the whole thing, paid to have the organ fixed.

I do have another musical question for you...

Oh. Take it from the top.

It's actually a kind of sad bit of business.

Hm? The Michael Mansana memorial.

The scattering of his ashes. He's asked me to arrange it.

He's asked you?

Well, he wrote a letter. He had some requests.

Then the Lord spoke to Job, stepped from the storm.

He said, "Where were you

"when I laid the Earth's foundations, "marked out its dimensions, laid its cornerstone,

"when the morning stars sang, "and the angels shouted with joy? Where were you?"

These surroundings were chosen by Michael as the repository for his physical remains.

I say physical because his memories and spirit live on with us, as does his mission.

Michael cared about this world.

Perhaps too much.

The Abundant Life Youth Choir will now sing for us, uh, a song chosen by Michael.

Protect the wild tomorrow's child Protect the land from the greed of man Take out the dams stand up to oil Protect the plants and renew the soil Who's gonna stand up and save the Earth?

Who's gonna say that she's had enough?

Who's gonna take on the big machine?

Who's gonna stand up and save the Earth?

This all starts with you and me

End fossil fuels Draw the line Before we build one more pipeline End fracking now let's save the water And build a life for our sons and daughters Who's gonna stand up and save the Earth?

Who's gonna say that she's had enough?

Who's gonna take on the big machine?

Who's gonna stand up and save the Earth?

This all starts with you and me


I'm good. All right.

Mr. Balq! Hey!

Hello! How are you?

Very good! Very good. Very good. Good, good.

Hey. Sorry I'm late. I got, uh... I got held up.

Oh, good. You know Reverend Toller, right?

Well, only by sight. Ed Barq.

Good to meet you. It's nice to meet you.

Just bring me a coffee and the apple pie. All right? Okay. Thank you.

Uh, the apple pie. I know it's a cliché, but they make it right here. It's organic. It's local.

I have a surprise for you.

I, uh... I stopped by the printer on the way over.

Oh. Ooh, nice. Nice. They did a great job.

Yeah. All the guests at the reconsecration will get a copy.

And then, uh, there will also be a mailing.

And... And of course it will be available at the bookstore.

So how are the plans coming?

Is the organ repaired?

Oh yeah. It sounds beautiful. Better than ever.

Okay. Um, we drew up a little seating chart.

Now, Mayor Wilson will be there, as well as the Governor.

Well, at least he's going to try...

All of those mighty men of God, servants of the cross.

Years of service, baptisms, confessions, funerals, sermons.

The hours in prayer, the afflictions suffered. Did God give them strength?

Reverend Toller will introduce me. I'll go up, I'll introduce the Governor.

There'll be a song selection. Now, the main...

There won't be anything political though, will there?

No. No, why would there be?

Well... Oh. Sorry. Do you mind?

Here you are.

Thank you. You're welcome. Enjoy.

Well, I... I ask, uh, only cause, um, this came to my attention.

It's a printout from a website.

Well, both First Reformed and Abundant Life are mentioned by name.

It was a political event. And a Neil Young protest song?

I was just respecting the wishes of the deceased and... And... And his widow.

It was their instructions for the memorial service.

At a toxic waste site with the press in attendance?

There was no press invited.

No. This is just Mensana's friends.

It was a political act.

You and the choir represented the Abundant Life Church.

And the Hanstown site, by the way, isn't even polluted.

It was cleaned up with EPA superfunds.

Well, Hanstown... No, no, of course not, but just give me some credit, all right?

I'm in the energy business.

It's my business to stay informed.

Look, sorry.

Reverend Toller didn't understand the implications here.

May I ask a question? Yeah. Go ahead.

Will God forgive us?

Will God forgive us for what we're doing to his creation?

That's what Mensana asked me when I visited him.

This... There's been a lot of loose talk about environmental change.

There is scientific consensus. Ninety-seven percent...

The man who says nothing always seems more intelligent.

Why couldn't I just keep silent?

It's a complicated subject.

Not really. I mean, who benefits?

Cui bono? Who profits?

That's what I keep asking myself.

Besides the Biblical call to stewardship, who profits when we soil our own nest? What's to be gained...

Can we just agree to keep politics out of the reconsecration service?

Yes. Yes, but this isn't politics.

I mean, what God wants is for...

Oh, you, you, you, you... You know the mind of God?

You spoke to him, personally?

He told you His plans for Earth?

Look, I understand, you're upset.

I mean, you found the body, correct?

Yes.

How?

I was supposed to meet him.

And he texted me, and... A change of location.

And?

And I went there and he was dead.

So you counseled him, Reverend?

Yes.

You counseled him, then he shot himself?

Ed?

Yes.

Well, I think you need to step back, Reverend, and take a look at your own life before you criticize others. Hmm?


Mary and I rode the park trail.

I had not ridden a bicycle, I think, in 20 years.

I was afraid I would fall.

It's amazing the simple curative power of exercise.

It's God given.

Thank you again.

Michael and I used to cycle twice a week, and I've missed it so much.

No. I enjoyed it. It's been a long time.

But it was under protest.

I... I asked my doctor. Really? Still.

Um, can I ask you another favor?

Sure.

Could you box up Michael's things?

Or find somebody to do it?

You sure you want to give them away so quickly?

Not, like... Not give it away, just, you know. Just box them up.

It just... You know, I feel...

It's just difficult to be around so many smells and memories.

You know?

Yeah, I can... I can do it.

Okay.

Have you decided what's next?

Um, the rent's paid for for two months, so there's no hurry.

But, um, I'm gonna stay with my sister and my brother-in-law.

Hmm. Are you? Until the baby is born.

So you'll relocate there?

Yeah. I think so. She contacted an obstetrician.

Are we talking pink or blue?

Blue! Blue.

Blue!

Ah! Congratulations. Thanks.

That's wonderful. Yeah.

Oh, hey, uh... I have a question for you, if, uh... If it's not too painful.

Do you think he, uh...

He really would have harmed someone?

Um, he'd been a part of some non-violent protests.

We both had. He'd been put in jail.

He had a temper. I mean, he'd start yelling at police, but no, I don't think he was...

No. I don't think he was violent.

I just, um...

I can't help but keep wondering what I should have done differently.

He didn't want to live.

He was not a religious man, you know.

He didn't care for the church. That was me.

I was the one who asked him to come.

I was raised in the church and I never could quite let it go.

I'd be in a strange city, and I would just go to a church and sit down, you know?

I was the spiritual one.

Thanks.

Yeah. I'll, uh... I'm gonna go get some boxes.

I'll come back for the clothes.

Okay.

Uh, Reverend? Um,

would you pray with me?

I just... I find it difficult to do it alone.

Just, the words, just don't come.

Are you uncomfortable with me asking you that?

No. No, no, no. Of course not. Yeah.

Okay.

Dear Heavenly Father, we invite you into this room, into our heart...

I held her hand, I spoke, and the words came out of my mouth.

"By thy words, you shall be justified, "and by thy words, you shall be condemned."


I can no longer ignore my health.

I have postponed my checkup too often.

Yesterday I could literally barely stand.


No, I have not lost my faith.


"And the rich man said I will pull down my barns, "and build greater..."

"And I will say to my soul, "take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

"But God said unto his disciples, "take no thought for your life, "what ye shall eat..."

"Neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

"The life is more than meat, "and the body is more than raiment."

Thus ends the reading of the Lord. Praise be God.

When did he come back?

Well, he was out most of Friday.

So he went to Albany for his checkup?

I asked him, buy he didn't give me any details.

Uh, you know how he is.

Perhaps I can check.

Esther.

It's just...

I know. I know.

Okay. All right. Bye. See ya.

We'd like to do a gastroscopic exam.

We lower a fiber optic camera down the throat and esophagus, and take a look around.

It's an outpatient procedure, local anesthetic.

You should be able to leave by mid-afternoon.

Still, that doesn't... That doesn't sound too good.

Well, we'd like to check for evidence of malignancy.

Cancer.

Cancer's not the fearsome medical foe it once was.

Mmm-hmm.

What's the... The treatment for that?

It depends on how far advanced the tumor is.

But...

You stated you've been experiencing discomfort.

Uh-huh. Yeah.

Six months?

Well, diet, medication, chemo, even surgery.

We have a variety of diagnostic tools.

Have you had any bloody stools?

Recently?

Okay. I'd like to schedule the gastroscopy as soon as possible.

We have an open slot week after next.

Okay.

What's your diet?

My diet? Um, I'm hungry, I eat.

You smoke? No.

Drink?

Mmm, in moderation.

That needs to end.

I'm gonna call in a prescription to help with the stomach pain. Huh.

And I want you to take nutritional supplements.

Okay.

Are you in pain now?

No. No. I feel good.

We tend to think that anxiety and worry are simply an indication of how wise we are, yet it is a much better indication of how wicked we are.

Fretting arises from our determination to have our own way.

Our Lord never worried and was never anxious.

I'll be back in a bit.

Because His purpose was to accomplish not his own plans...

Reverend?

Hi Esther.

I... I didn't know you were coming.

Well, Joel's office called.

They want to talk to me about the Reconsecration program.

Did... Did they talk to you?

Uh, I'll be at First Reformed. And Stanley will be with the full choir here for the simulcast.

Mmm-hmm. Nice.

The acoustics will be wonderful. I mean...

Stop.

Really wonderful. Did you hear from Albany?

Yeah. I did.

Well, what did they say?

Nothing. Just some more tests.

A gastroscopy.

And you know this how?

I called.

I'm worried about you. Leave me alone.

I just want to try... I know what you want!

All right? And I cannot bear your concern, your constant hovering. Your neediness.

You, you're a constant reminder of my own personal inadequacies and failings.

You want something that never was and never will be.

Don't make me do this, 'cause I...

Esther. Esther. Esther.

Pull yourself together. Okay? Look at yourself.

You don't take care of yourself.

I despise you.

I despise what you bring out in me.

Your concerns are petty.

You are a stumbling block.

I suddenly feel much better.

I awoke early, clear-headed and immediately set about my daily tasks.


"The nations raged..."

"But your wrath came, "and the time for the dead to be judged,

"and for rewarding your servants, "and prophets and saints, "and for those who fear your name, "both small and great,

"and for destroying the destroyers of the Earth."

Revelations 11:18.


I have removed the previous pages.

They were written in a delirium.

But I am determined to continue.

It's hard to struggle against torpor.

I must set pen to paper.


Shit.

Oh, hey Mary. Hi. Can I come in?

Yeah, of course. Come on in. Come on, come on.

Come on, come in. Do you need anything?

Um, do you want... Um, can I take your coat?

Yeah. Hey, are you all right?

Um... Let me get this.

Uh, no.

I'm just, I'm really frightened.

I'm like I'm frightened of everything.

Uh, I woke up and my heart was pounding and I... I thought, like, the roof, the ceiling, was just gonna fall in.

Um, so I... I had to get out.

Yeah. Mary?

And I just drove around, and... And I...

I didn't put any make-up on. Sorry.

I'm glad you came. Do you want some, uh...

Some water, some tea...

Without warning, this dark curtain just fell.

I'm... I'm scared of everything.

Well, you did the right thing coming here.

I just can't stop my thoughts.

They just keep going on and on.

They repeat and repeat.

Did this ever happen before Michael's death?

A little. Yeah. Not like this though.

I read online that, um, they used to believe that pregnancy made you happy, but now they feel like it just makes your feelings more extreme.

Michael...

He was just really strong.

How so?

Um, he listened. He was kind.

We used to do this thing called the Magical Mystery Tour.

It sounds silly. But, um...

We would, uh, share a joint and lay on top of each other fully clothed.

We would try to get as much body-to-body contact as possible.

We'd have our hands out and...

We would just look straight into each other's eyes and move them in unison, like right, left, right, left.

And then we would breathe in rhythm.

You want me to do this?

No. I didn't mean that.

All right.

I mean, I...

Yeah. I mean, yeah. I guess I...

Yeah. I guess I did.

Okay. Uh, show me.

Well, you lay on your back, and with your arms and your legs stretched out.

Do we need music?

No, we just listen to the breaths.

Just lie down?

Yeah. And then, yeah.


Go, go, go, go! Come on, come on, come on!

Come on, Benny.

Hey, guys. Let's all get seated in the first pew right here. All the way down.

All right. Good job, guys.

Okay, so last week, we read The Patchwork Path about the Underground Railroad, which was not a railroad, but... Rosa?

It was a slave trail.

It was an escape route from the South to the North.

And this church, First Reformed, was one of the stops on that route. Reverend Toller?

Yeah. Slaves, uh, fleeing north to Canada were often helped, fed, hidden by homes and churches along this route. Calvin Verlander was the dominee, the minister here at First Reformed.

And he was very active in the Abolitionist Movement.

He assisted in...

No. Miss Suriya, let me try this.

Uh, why don't you all stand up for a second?

Take a look right here.

Do you see one part of wood that seems different than the other part of the wood?

Yeah!

You all see that, don't you?

But does this seem a little bit like a secret door? Hmm? Yes.

Yeah. What's your name? Benny.

Benny, will you give me a hand?

Come on over here. Mmm-hmm.

You see, there used to be a pew over this.

And they would move it, and then they would lift this up.

Can you do it? Help me.

Yes! Oh!

Come around everybody.

Slaves would hide in here. Sometimes whole families.

Be really careful. All right.

Can you imagine that?

In the dark. The air hot, shaking with fear.

The sound of the slave hunter's horses outside.

On their knees, holding each other's hands, praying for God to save them?

Do you want me to pack up anything here in the kitchen?

No. I can get it later. Thanks.

I'd love to meet your sister sometime.

You wanna come to Buffalo? If I'm invited. I'd love to.

You gonna visit me? I would, yeah.

I'd love to meet Michael Jr.

You've been such a help to me.

My great-grandfather was a pastor in Muskegon, Michigan.

The Saint of God.

And, uh, the bank in town was a two-story building, the first building to have an elevator.

And one Monday, Granddad, uh, got the boys all together and they went into town to deposit church funds, as they did every Monday.

And they needed to go talk to the managers.

They got on the elevator.

And he had a heart attack.

And he... He took off his hat.

Apparently he always wore a hat.

And he took off his hat and he said, "Boys, take off my shoes.

"I'm standing on Holy Ground."

And then he died.

Somewhere between the first and second floor.

Um, I think about that story when I think about Michael.

'Cause I believe he was standing on Holy Ground when he died.

Thank you.

So I'll see you in Buffalo?

I think I'm gonna go to the, uh, Reconsecration.

Oh. No, you... You don't need to do that.

But, I... I want to. Yeah, but it's not necessary.

Yeah, but you've been there for me, and I want to be there for you.

It's very nice of you to offer, um, but it's just a bunch of rich guys patting each other on the back.

But you're gonna be there. But I have to be there.

So I'm gonna go. Please don't come.

Okay? I don't want you to come. You understand?

Okay.

Right. Have a nice evening.


"Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

"Put on the full armor of God, "so that you can take your stand

"against the devil's schemes.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,

"but against the rulers, "against the authorities, "against the powers of this dark world."


Balq Home Products, makers of paper goods, fertilizers, everyday items for the household, was among the first companies to realize the need to address environmental concerns.

Sir? Are you joining us?

This unit makes recyclable plastic markers.

Balq has facilities or production arrangements with 18 countries around the world.

Today, I stopped. I had Miso and fish.

Such simple pleasures.

Why do we deny ourselves?


Every act of preservation is an act of creation.

Everything preserved renews creation.

It's how we participate in creation.


I have found another form of prayer.


Reverend Toller. Come on in. Close the door.

Why don't you take a seat?

We're concerned about you.

Who is?

How's your health?

I'm having some tests.

Hmm? Have you got any results?

No. No.

What about your diet?

You know, I'm gonna be honest, you just don't look so good.

I've had some... Some stomach issues.

And I understand you've been drinking.

Hm. What? It's just a little wine with dinner.

Wine? Yeah. Yeah.

Well, that's not recommended for someone who has stomach problems.

I understand, all right?

I'll... I'll start taking better care of myself.

You're always in the Garden.

Even Jesus wasn't always in the Garden, on his knees, sweating blood.

He was on the Mount.

He was in the marketplace. He was in the temple.

But you, you're always in the Garden.

For you every hour is the Darkest Hour.

I wasn't aware that I had offended.

Jesus doesn't want our suffering.

He suffered for us. Mmm-mmm.

He wants our commitment and our obedience.

And what of His creation?

The Heavens declare the glory of God.

God is present everywhere, in every plant, every river, every tiny insect.

The whole world is a manifestation of His Holy presence.

I think this is an issue where... Where the church can lead.

But... But they say nothing.

The...

The U.S. Congress still denies climate change?

Where were we when these people were elected?

The, the, the...

We know who spoke for big business. Right?

But who spoke for God?

"The creation waits in eager expectation

"of liberation from bondage."

That's Romans 8:23. You understand?

So, we should pollute so God can restore?

We should sin so God can forgive?

I don't think that's what the Apostle meant.

I think we're supposed to look with the eyes of Jesus into every living...

You don't live in the real world.

You don't. You, you are a minister at a tourist church that no one attends.

Do you have any idea what it takes to do God's work?

I'm trying to...

To, to maintain a mission of this size?

The staffing, the outreach, the amount of people that we touch each day.

Who's that priest that you like so much?

Thomas Merton? Thomas Merton. He didn't live in the real world either! Yes, he did! He would...

No. He was a monk who lived in a monastery in Kentucky and wrote books!

Well, somebody has to do something!

It's the Earth that hangs in the balance.

Well what if this is His plan? What if we just can't see it?

You think God wants to destroy his creation?

He did once.

For 40 days and 40 nights.

Look, Abundant Life, we're with you.

Okay? We care.

We do. And I know, this is a hard time for you.

But we're gonna help you with that.

Once we get through the reconsecration service, you, you need to go to rehab.

You need to go check yourself into a medical institution.

All right? Maybe go to Nicaragua and preach the gospel or build houses.

But do something in the real world.

And if you can't do the ceremony, I'll understand that.

You're expected to be there, but look.

We can just say that you were sick, which is true.

No. No. It's not...

It's not about the ceremony. All right? I can... I will...

I... I want to be there. I have to be there.

It's my church. It's 250 years.

I want to be there. I want to introduce you. Please?

Well, Ed Balq has decided that he would like to make comments, so the Governor will introduce him.

Will that be a problem?

Not at all. Not at all.

Well good. Good.

Listen. We'll get through this reconsecration.

It'll be special.

And then we'll deal with these other issues.

Thank you.


Thanks.


Where is, um... Where is Reverend Toller?

I'm not sure, ma'am. Inside.


Have you seen him? No.

Where is he? I don't know.

Toller!

Toller! You in there?


Begin the service.


What a fellowship What a joy divine Leaning on The everlasting arms What a blessedness What a peace is mine Leaning on The everlasting arms Leaning Leaning Safe and secure From all alarms Leaning Leaning Leaning on The everlasting arms Oh, how sweet to walk In this pilgrim way Leaning on The everlasting arms Oh, how bright the path Grows from day to day Leaning on The everlasting arms Leaning Leaning Safe and secure From all alarms Leaning Leaning Leaning on The everlasting arms What have I to dread What have I to fear Leaning on Ernst?

The everlasting arms I have blessed peace With my Lord so near Leaning on The everlasting arms Leaning Leaning Safe and secure From all alarms Leaning Leaning Leaning on The everlasting arms Leaning Leaning Leaning on The everlasting arms Leaning