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????”
2 thoughts on “Devotion: Saying Yes (& why I love Waypoint “staff lunches”)”
I once heard a sermon about Abraham that has stuck with me for years. The pastor pointed out that often the interruptions in our lives are really the life that God has planned for us. The reason that we view many situations as interruptions is that we have tried to plan everything out and do not like the “interruption” to OUR plan (by God or anyone else). What if we embraced the interruptions as God’s plan and said, YES! Yes, I will see that struggle or hardship in my life as an opportunity to serve God or share God’s provision for me with others who are in the same boat. Yes, I will help that difficult person, because I know God placed them in my path for a reason. Yes, I will view my health as a blessing, but know that God may even interrupt that at some point. Yes, we will stretch and give of our resources and in the process we may experience unspeakable joy. Yes, life may not look as we expected, but by saying yes to the interruption, we will surely be blessed!
>Seeing an interruption as an opportunity.
Hadn’t really thought about that but interruptions often occur because someone needs something from us-a homeless person uptown, our kids…interruptions are opportunities to show that the first last shall become last.
It goes along with a phrase I love in our busy world where your value is found in how many meetings, emails, etc. you can keep. But God became “Embarrassingly Available” to us as Christ during this Christmas season. Am I embarrassingly available to my family, to my friends and coworkers, to the people in need God interrupts my day with?