Living a Yes or No Life

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Yes and no. We know the difference between these words from our earliest age. The first is full of permission, support, affirmation, agreement and liberation. The latter is full of limits, denials, judgement and negation. We can even say that some people we know seem to live out of a ‘yes’ driven attitude and others out of an attitude of ‘no’ in everything they say or do.

ʺBut as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not ʺYesʺ and ʺNo.ʺ For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us–by me and Silas and Timothy–was not ʺYesʺ and ʺNo,ʺ but in him it has always been ʺYes.ʺ For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ʺYesʺ in Christ. And so through him the ʺAmenʺ is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.ʺ

It is clear that Jesus is the ʺYesʺ that humanity had hoped and prayed for through time. He is the Word of God after all. This brings me to reflect on the three great ʺYesʺ moments in God’s time. Without these, there would be nothing, for a world of ʺNoʺ is lifeless and empty.

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The first great ʺYesʺ was spoken by God at the moment of Creation. He spoke, breathed his ruah, his ʺYes,ʺ and all things came to be in that loving affirmation spoken by God. In that ʺYesʺ all things, seen and unseen, took their being and that ʺYesʺ has maintained and continues to sustain all of life since that powerful moment of creation.

The second was Mary’s ʺYesʺ given humbly to the Angel Gabriel in answer to his awesome invitation to her to be the instrument through which the Christ, the Word, the Word that was with God, the Word that was God, the infinite ʺYes,ʺ might become flesh, a human being, one with us. It was her ʺYesʺ that opened the door to the Incarnational ʺYesʺ of Jesus. And Jesus showed us how to be ʺYesʺ people, Godly people. He charged us with bringing the light and the life-giving force of that ʺYesʺ to this world so tortured by the terrible and terrifying weight of ʺNoʺ each and every day of our lives.

And this is the third ʺYes.ʺ We know too well the weight of ʺNoʺ in this world, even in our own lives. But Jesus knocks at the door of our souls every day asking if he can enter the world again through each of us. Do we say ʺYesʺ to his knocking? He asks we Christians to be ʺYesʺ people, to meet the ʺNo’sʺ of this world with the loving, affirmative force of ʺYes.ʺ Do we really understand in the depths of our being that it is our grace and our fortune to be called by God, to share in his infinite ʺYes,ʺ and to be his ʺYesʺ in the world today? If so, let the world see our joyful ʺYesʺ every day through our words and acts of love, mercy, kindness, compassion and through our willing forgiveness and prayers for those who misunderstand and reject us.

Let all who call themselves Christians, in the name of Jesus, be a joyful ʺYessesʺ in this world so burdened and hurt by rebellious ʺNo’s.ʺ

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.