I wish the folks of Waypoint could observe Brad and my weekly lunch…well maybe not. Because then you will have to try and understand how Christmas, improv and what William Shatner being grabbed in the testicles by a Gorilla all have to do with each other.
Brad, however, taught me that Shatner’s motto in life is to say “yes” to all appearance requests. And while that may have placed him into terrifying situations (ala entering Koko the Gorilla’s cage) it has also given him profound life experiences. While Shatner’s life may take a hyperbolic form leaving you petrified in a gorrilla cage…it stirred in my passive heart the power of saying “Yes.”
By saying “Yes” we are guaranteed to experience something new.
In Improv, the number one rule is that your lines must be said in the affirmative, “Yes, and…”
An actor will shut down a scene by saying “no.” For example, if an actor starts the scene saying–“Do you want to get into my yellow car?” and her partner says, “no.” Cut-Wrap-That’s it folks. But if the partner had responded, “Yes, but I am not sure how I can fit since I have a gorilla grabbing my testicles” (see what I did there?–rule #2 in improv, bring it back to an earlier joke.)
By saying Yes in Improv, the scene expands and the story builds and hilarity results. By Shatner saying “Yes,” his experiences enrich, challenges emerge and his life expands.
Fear, anxiety, and insecurity keep us from embracing the “Yes” of life. If, however, we embraced the invitation to say “Yes” then our lives will be radically transformed from bland monotony.
This is the power of the Christmas Story…Karl Barth, a german pastor theologian, calls Jesus “God’s Yes” to humanity. God looked at us, His creation, and saw the mess we have made of our lives. We have ruined our relationship to God and to each other because we frequently say “No” to God and others. We selfishly and desperately want to hold onto control of the scenes of our life and refuse to embrace a new trajectory.
However, rather than saying “No” to us-that’s it folks-God decided to send Jesus Christ. But, Christ is more, He is God’s “Yes, and…” because it is not enough that Jesus was born, He continues the story by having His Son go to the Cross on our behalf: to die for my mess. Jesus becomes my “no” on the cross, so I can be God’s “yes.”
As you prepare for the birth of Christ this Christmas, what would it look like to say “yes” to God’s “Yes?” Because I can promise you, while you may not end up in a Gorilla cage, following Jesus is going lead you through some pretty hair raising experiences.
This is what we can glean from the stories of Abraham, Joseph, Mary, Jonah, David, Peter, Paul, Mary Magdelene, Andrew, Philip…they all said to God, “Yes…and????”