Grace and peace from the YES in whom we live and move and have our being. God said yes.
This is such a strange Wednesday for us to gather. There is so much happening between now and next Wednesday when we get together. There is Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and of course, Easter Sunday. How does one talk about it all without going on and on and on?
How do we see this as one cohesive whole, rather than simply a series of disconnected events? So as I sat and thought about this Wednesday, and what to say, one phrase kept coming to me. And it is this…
God’s Yes to our No
This week is about God’s YES to our NO.
Think about Maundy Thursday. There is the NO of Peter’s denial. There is the NO of Judas’ betrayal. There is the NO of the other disciples abandoning him in the garden of Gethsemane.
And on that night, he answers with a giant YES. “Take and eat. Take and drink. This is me. Always connected and re-connected to you. Always membered and re-membered with you.”
Jesus says YES to the brokenness of our NO, and embraces it, becomes it, and takes it into himself.
Think of Good Friday. There is the NO of the political realm, Pilate and Herod. There is the NO of the religious world, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. There is the NO of the public square, “Crucify him! We have no king but Caesar.”
And in the midst of this cacophony of NO, Jesus is heard to utter a YES. “Father forgive them…”
Jesus takes on all the NO’s of the world, and responds back with a bigger YES.
And finally, Easter Sunday. Since Friday afternoon, Jesus has experienced the greatest NO humanity can impose – Jesus experiences death. It is humanity’s ultimate NO. There is no greater NO you can impose on another human being than death.
And on Sunday morning, Jesus responds with a greater YES. And we are left staring at an empty tomb, in shock and wonder. And bewildered at what it means that God’s YES is bigger than our NO. That our NO has been swallowed up into God’s YES.
In Holy Week, we often talk about how God, in Jesus, has entered into the pain and suffering of human existence, God has become AT-ONE with us in life and death, pain and sorrow, suffering and doubt. There is no place, there is no point, there is no experience in life that the Mystery has not connected Itself to. To paraphrase St. Paul when he writes, “Christ became sin…” We can say in this context, “Christ has become the NO, taken on the NO of humanity.”
But this week isn’t just about God taking on the NO of humanity. It’s about us being taken up into the YES of God.
It is about tasting God’s YES on Thursday. Hearing God’s YES on Friday. And living God’s YES on Sunday.
The great Nevertheless
I think it was Luther who called this the great ‘nevertheless.’ In spite of all the NO’s we experience in our lives, NEVERTHELESS, there is still this great YES that stands over it all.
It is this YES that gets us through the times of pain and suffering. It is this YES that gets us through our times of despair and doubt. It is this YES that we meet in the lowest points of our lives.
This YES is experienced every morning in a sunrise. It is experienced in every leaf and flower of springtime.
We see this YES in the Ukrainian people who will not let the NO of Putin and his henchmen have the last word. We hear this YES in the outcast and marginalized of our society as they call us to a greater humanity. Reminding us that God’s YES is for all people, and not just one group.
You and I are a part of the Mystery’s YES. You and I are included in God’s YES.
Beat up by ‘No’
The world beats us up with its NO. We beat ourselves up with our internal NO.
“NO, you don’t measure up. NO, you are not good enough. NO, NO, NO!”
And in the midst of those NO’s, we hear a giant YES.
But it isn’t a YES that says, “Yes, you do measure up,” or “Yes, you are good enough.” It’s rather a YES that says, “YES, you don’t have to measure up. YES, you don’t have to be good enough. Because it’s not about measuring up or being good enough. My YES will simply embrace and transform your NO.”
It is a YES that simply calls to us and says…
It all begins with a YES. It all ends with a YES.
It is the YES in which we live and move and have our being.
My prayer for you
And so this week, this Holy Week, my prayer for you is this:
That you will taste the YES of connection, that is in the food and fellowship you share…
That you will hear the YES of forgiveness, that is in the voice of a loved one and a morning sunrise…
That you will live the YES of life, that empties the tombs of NO that enclose us…
My prayer for you this week, this Holy Week, is that you will:
Taste God’s YES of Thursday. Hear God’s YES of Friday. And live God’s YES of Sunday.
You are a part of God’s YES.
After all, you are made in the image of the Divine YES.
Wednesday Respite is a 30-min contemplative service of scripture, prayer, music and a Spirited Touchpoint by Spirit in the Desert faith mentor, Rev. “Bro. Jim” Hanson.
Touchpoint is a reflection on where God’s story touches our life story. It is a short homily based on a biblical story of people in the Old and New Testaments and their relationship with God. Our spiritual ancestors’ experience of God’s grace connects with our lives in the present and our relationship with the Divine. Previous Touchpoints are available as PDFs or on SoundCloud.