Belinda Groves – 1 October 2017

Dear Friends

As I was reflecting on our reading from Matthew this week I was thinking about how sensitive and politically charged two simple words – ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ – have become. For instance, if I was to preach this morning about the son who says ‘No’, but then does the will of his father, or the son who says ‘Yes’, but doesn’t, would too much be read into it? Or if we were to read The Message version of the Lord’s Prayer which ends with “You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes” would people object? And then I started to think about Matthew 5:37, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one…” which seems to be saying that clear and reliable communication is the mark of a Christian (and that, irrespective of how we vote, marking both boxes on the postal survey is not!)

But today’s reading is less about what we say and more about the testimony of our lives. Are we just saying ‘Yes’ to God or are we living a ‘Yes’ (and all that that might entail)? And, the gospel dares to suggest, even some who say ‘No’ to God might end up living the truth of ‘Yes’.

So, in that spirit, in the spirit of living a ‘Yes’ to God’s kingdom and the way of righteousness, can I share with you this poem by Edwina Gateley.

Called to Say Yes

We are called to say yes.
That the kingdom might break through
To renew and to transform
Our dark and groping world.

We stutter and we stammer
To the lone God who calls
And pleads a New Jerusalem
In the bloodied Sinai Straights.

We are called to say yes
That honeysuckle may twine
And twist its smelling leaves
Over the graves of nuclear arms.

We are called to say yes
That children might play
On the soil of Vietnam where the tanks
Belched blood and death.

We are called to say yes
That black may sing with white
And pledge peace and healing
For the hatred of the past.

We are called to say yes
So that nations might gather
And dance one great movement
For the joy of humankind.

We are called to say yes
So that rich and poor embrace
And become equal in their poverty
Through the silent tears that fall.

We are called to say yes
That the whisper of our God
Might be heard through our sirens
And the screams of our bombs.

We are called to say yes
To a God who still holds fast
To the vision of the Kingdom
For a trembling world of pain.

We are called to say yes
To this God who reaches out
And asks us to share
His crazy dream of love.