Creation is the very evidence of God’s affirming and loving nature. We can imagine that, in the beginning, he spoke all of creation, the visible and the invisible, into being with a single word, ʺYES!ʺ
Creation is the very evidence of God’s affirming and loving nature. We can imagine that, in the beginning, he spoke all of creation, the visible and the invisible, into being with a single word, ʺYES!ʺ He breathed life into all of it with the breath of that single word. Think of it. What is the most creative, affirming, and empowering word in any language? It is the word ‘yes.’ With that simple, singular syllable, everything finds the possibility of life, as well as liberation. It is such a seemingly simple word, but has in it the power to create all things good, true and beautiful. With our yes, we enter into, and co-create, a culture of life.
On the other hand the world seems to shout, ʺNo!ʺ The ego shouts ‘no’ to anything it perceives as a personal limitation on its passions or demands. Society seems to say ‘no’ to life in a multitude of ways. We see that ‘no’ to life in all the senseless acts of violence in our streets. We see it in wars of every description, in acts of terrorism, in suicides, and in state sponsored legalization of abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment. We understand that ʺNo,ʺ is a powerful word too. With it we shut down hope and optimism, we deny liberty and impose fear. When we do this we are submitting to a culture of death.
As Christians we know and experience ourselves as affirmed by God. We see all of creation as God’s life-affirming ʺYes.ʺ Because of this knowledge and experience, we respond to God’s love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness by trying to be that same ‘yes’ in the world, through our willingness to be affirming, empowering, loving, compassionate, merciful and forgiving with all the people we encounter each day. We also see the meaning and purpose of caring for nature out of that same affirmative attitude. In this way we act as literal signs of contradiction in the world. We do not wish to exclude. We wish to invite. We do not wish to impose. We only propose. What is it that we propose to a world that seems to be drowning in a commitment to the negative? We propose a life-affirming faith in God, who made all things, and every human being, to be creatures of wonder and awe, meant for goodness, truth and beauty. We propose a life-affirming hope that finds its reason and purpose in an attitude of ʺYes.ʺ We propose a life-affirming love that says ʺyesʺ to life with courage and commitment. It is this God-inspired and empowered affirmative attitude that allows us to enter into the suffering of others with a compassion so positive that it can, with God’s grace, change lives for the better. This is a love so complete that it can forgive even those who reject it saying, “Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Of course, we Christians are not completely free from the powers of the negative world. We fall into that negativity at times. We descend into the doldrums of boredom, depression, and negativity too. But we know that when this happens we can turn to God for his life-affirming support, in his graces, and in his infinite, unconditional love and forgiveness. We know that we can receive this affirmation of love through the love of our families, our faith communities, and our faithful friends as well. If we find ourselves in negative spaces internally, we can turn to prayer. If we find ourselves among people who seem committed to negativity, we can get ourselves out of their presence, and yet, pray for them as well. If we are truly affirming people, filled with the affirming faith, hope and love of God, people will see that and wish to be around it. We will bring others to Christ most effectively if we say ‘yes’ to God and bring the gospel to others out of our positive, affirming love for life, creation, and others. How else can we respond to God who spoke his Word, Jesus, into the world to show us how to live in and through that ‘yes’ attitude, even in the midst of the world’s negativity?
Let us pray that we can see the wonder of that “YES” in our daily lives. Let us practice it. Let us say yes to love and to compassion. Let us say yes to all of creation by treating it with love and respect. Let us show that affirmative love in our service to others. God will be in it all, we can be assured of this. “And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Now, that is a ‘Yes’ worth living for.SKM: below-content placeholder